British Columbia

Delayed decision on Massey Tunnel has London Drugs considering move out of province

The drugstore chain employs nearly 900 people at its Richmond, B.C., headquarters but the CEO says traffic gridlock in and around the tunnel is affecting its bottom line.

Drugstore chain, which employs around 900 at Richmond headquarters, says traffic gridlock is costly

London Drugs, which employs 900 people at its headquarters in Richmond, B.C., is upset over the B.C. government's announcement that it won’t make a decision on upgrading or replacing the 59-year-old Massey Tunnel until the fall of 2020. (CBC )

London Drugs is frustrated with the province's decision earlier this week to delay a decision on upgrades or a replacement for the Massey Tunnel.

The drugstore chain employs nearly 900 people at its Richmond, B.C., headquarters but the CEO says without a fix for the frequent traffic gridlock in and around the tunnel, his company may start looking for a new location — possibly out of province.

"The costs of having trucks and employees delayed in traffic and the costs of being here are all impacting our business," said Clint Mahlman.

Mahlman also said London Drugs has lost employees who quit because they couldn't cope with the commute.

The CEO of London Drugs says the company is considering moving its Richmond headquarters out of province because of costs associated with the gridlock around the Massey Tunnel. (Dylan Hodgin/CBC)

The previous B.C. Liberal government started preliminary work on a $3.5 billion, 10-lane bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel in 2017 but the New Democrats cancelled the project after they were elected.

On Monday the province announced it would continue to study the project and make a final decision in 2020 on how it will upgrade the 59-year-old crossing between Richmond and Delta.

Options include building a smaller bridge, upgrading the existing tunnel and building a new tunnel.

The NDP cancelled the $3.5 billion, 10-lane bridge that was to replace the Massey Tunnel soon after they were elected in May 2017. They now say more study on a replacement is needed. (Frederic Gagnon/CBC)

Child-care impact

According to the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, tunnel congestion is also forcing parents who live on the other side of the tunnel into child care decisions that are causing a run on Richmond daycares.

"All these people who commute into Richmond don't dare leave their children on the other side of the tunnel because they can't guarantee they'll be home in time to pick them up," said chamber chair Barbara Tinson.

"So they put them in Richmond [because] that way, if they get stuck, at least they have the kid with them."

With files from Tanya Fletcher

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