West Vancouver highway battle turns nasty 

The mayor of West Vancouver has accused the province of foul play in the appraisal of a parcel of land that would be used to expand the Sea to Sky Highway to four lanes at Horseshoe Bay.

West Vancouver council favours the construction of a tunnel, which would lessen highway noise and traffic through the community.

According to Mayor Ron Wood, there is evidence that an independent appraiser who was hired to assess the value of the land bowed to pressure when he said the area was worth $21 million. Wood says their municipal assessments show the land is worth $58 million.

The difference in values makes the four-lane option considerably cheaper than the tunnel option, which increases its chances of being approved by the Ministry of Highways. The initial assessment pegged the price of the four-lane option at $130 million and the two-lane tunnel at $170 million.

Wood told the CBC that the appraiser’s report backs up his contentions, that "…these comments are riddled through the report, that the appraiser has been directed by the province as how to come up with the numbers that we feel that the province wanted to come up with."

Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon said Wood’s comments are "frankly unbelievable", and said the project would go ahead even if West Vancouver takes legal action.

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