Surrey business leaders are alarmed about the growing talk in New Westminster that the aging Pattullo Bridge should be dismantled and not replaced, cutting off a key trade route over the Fraser River.
So the Surrey Board of Trade (SBOT) – which strongly backs a new six-lane replacement bridge – hopes businesses will speak up about the importance of the corridor at a May 24 public meeting it’s hosting with the New Westminster Chamber of Commerce on the Pattullo’s future.
SBOT executive director Anita Huberman said it’s been “frustrating” to hear New Westminster residents speak out for a smaller four-lane replacement or no bridge at all, adding she hopes those who attend learn more of the business perspective.
“They’re not being educated about the full economic picture,” she said. “It is a significant transportation link between New Westminster and Surrey.”
Huberman said good transportation is critical to moving the Surrey economy forward.
“We have 1,000 people a month moving into the city,” she said. “We’re trying to find businesses to move into the city to find well-paying jobs for these new people.”
In New Westminster, where concern runs strong that a bigger bridge will intensify local congestion, Huberman’s counterparts have not yet taken a position.
“We want to hear from the business community what their recommendations are before taking more of a solid position,” New Westminster chamber executive director Cori Lynn Germiquet said.
She said it’s important for businesses to ensure the movement of goods, services and labour.
The Pattullo Bridge Business Dialogue runs from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday May 24 at the Fraser River Discovery Centre in New Westminster at 788 Quayside Drive.
TransLink reps will be on hand to give a presentation on the options for the bridge. Officials from the two cities will give their perspectives, followed by the Lower Mainland Chamber Transportation Panel and then a question and answer session.
For more info see www.newwestchamber.com