Rotarian Greg Hoover named Citizen of the year for countless hours spent developing alternative to new highway

Reported by Dave Willis The Delta Optimist Wednesday, November 07, 2007

It's safe to say Greg Hoover, Delta's 2007 Citizen of the Year, was surprised he got the nod during the annual Hats Off to Excellence gala at the Delta Town & Country Inn last Friday night.


"I didn't even write anything down to say," he said.


Hoover , who has championed an alternative truck-only route to the coming South Fraser Perimeter Road, was one of three finalists up for the Delta Chamber of Commerce award.

He co-developed the route with fellow Tsawwassenite Olav Naas about five years ago.


Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird, who worked on negotiating the historic TFN treaty, and Optimist columnist Edgar Dunning were also nominated for the honour.


Hoover acknowledged that although he's worked hard to have the Hoover-Naas route implemented, his goal hasn't been accomplished.


He said he couldn't even guess how many hours he's spent working on the project.


The province has dismissed the locally devised plan, deeming it unworkable.


"Frankly, it's not an option that's going to work. I'll be upfront about that," Transportation Minister Kevin Falcon told a chamber luncheon earlier this year.


While the government-preferred route for the SFPR, a 40-kilometre, four-lane highway that will connect Deltaport to Highway 1 in Surrey, moves closer to reality, Hoover said he doesn't plan to stop fighting.


In fact, he hopes to release a documentary, via the popular video sharing website YouTube, which compares the two routes later this month.


Hoover said the film should create more public awareness about the disadvantages of the planned SFPR route, adding people would be more prone to watching a movie rather than reading complicated technical documents.


He also maintains a website,, which promotes the Hoover-Naas proposal.


The new highway is needed to accommodate the coming increase in truck traffic that will result from container port expansion at Roberts Bank.


Expected to cost approximately $1 billion, the highway would cut through local farmland and travel along the northern edge of Burns Bog.


The project is currently under review from the provincial Environmental Assessment Office.


The Hoover-Naas route would affect much less farmland and have no impacts on the bog, Hoover has contended.


"[Hoover's] done a lot of work," said Delta Chamber of Commerce president Maria DeVries.

© The Delta Optimist 2007