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Delta house demolition blocked by Gateway protesters

Demonstrators have prevented the demolition of a house slated for tear down as part of the province’s controversial Gateway Project.

The house, at 10253 River Road in Delta, was reportedly scheduled for demolition today to make way for the South Fraser Perimeter Road, a component of the province’s three billion dollar transportation Gateway highway and infrastructure project.

Tom Jaugelis, a member of the Gateway Sucks action group, told the Tyee that he and a small band of the group’s supporters arrived at the demolition site at 6:30 this morning to climb to the top of a piece of heavy equipment and drape it with a banner that reads “No Gateway to Global Warming; Don’t Pave Us.”

“The big issue here is global warming,” Jagelis said in a phone interview from the Delta blockade. “I climbed up on the excavator with climbing gear, a helmet and the banner. The police were here for a while with the contractors. They were pretty aggressive with us at first, but we have been told that there will be no arrests today. So at least we prevented the loss of this house today. This is a huge victory. We’ve shown that a small group of people can accomplish great things. Who knows how many greenhouse emissions we prevented today?”

Constable Sharleen Brooks of the Delta Police told the Tyee that members of her force attended the demonstration at the demolition site this morning, but took no action. She said there had been no incidents or problems, and that her members would only attend again if there was a threat to public safety.

Jaegelis, a draftsman by trade, told the Tyee that approximately 75 houses were slated for demolition in Delta to make way for the perimeter road portion of the Gateway Project. He said the project is an ecological disaster, contributing to global warming and endangering fragile ecosystems like the adjacent Burns Bog.

The South Fraser Perimeter Road is budgeted to cost over a billion dollars, and will run for 40 kilometers south of the Fraser River from Deltaport Way in South Surrey to 176th Street in Surrey, with connections to Highway 1 and to the Golden Ears Bridge.

Like the larger Gateway Project, the South Fraser Perimeter Road has been the focus of fierce criticism from environmentalists and community activists ever since the plans were announced.

The Tyee called Gateway media spokesman Dave Crebo for comment on the thwarted demolition. He told us:

“The protesters were out there in Delta today, and that is certainly their right. Beyond that we won’t have any comment.”

Tom Sandborn is a Tyee contributing editor and a regular on The Hook. He welcomes your feedback and story tips at [email protected].

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