Officials in Delta are once again calling for a pedestrian overpass spanning Highway 17 near Tsawwassen Mills mall, despite a provincial report deeming it unnecessary.

"It's just totally unsafe, and a danger to the public," said Delta's chief administrative officer George Harvie,

"How the province can not look to see [the overpass is] needed now or shortly in the future, I don't know."

Delta sent a delegation to Victoria in April to argue for the overpass across Highway 17 at 52 Street.

But an assessment prepared for the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure concluded in October that the minimum $4.5 million projected cost was not justified.

'It's a public hazard'

But Delta's own report on the intersection approved by council Monday and bound for the Ministry of Transportation points to what it sees as several key problems, including the size of the seven-lane intersection, and its high pedestrian usage.

And Harvie points to drone footage released by Delta that appears to show several pedestrians ignoring the directions of the intersection as marked, including one who cuts diagonally across several lanes of moving traffic.

"I don't care about facts and figures. I just look at what's happening in reality, and it's a public hazard," said Harvie.

Province prepared to share costs

The province said in a statement it is open to the idea of an overpass if the Corporation of Delta would agree to a cost-sharing agreement. 

Harvie adamantly resists that proposal, since Highway 17 is a provincial road, and Delta sees no tax revenue from the nearby Tsawwassen Mills mall, which is on Tsawwassen First Nation's land.

"It's the responsibility of the province to ensure people crossing that road are safe, not the Corporation of Delta," he said.

Harvie's hope is that Delta's new report will influence the province to further study the intersection, and eventually shoulder the full cost of the overpass.

highway 17 52 avenue pedestrian overpass

A proposal for what an overpass spanning Highway 17 at 52 Avenue could look like. (CH2M)