Criminology professor’s students “dig the dirt” on South Fraser Perimeter Road

By Matthew Burrows
APR 28, 2011. Article from The Georgia Strait - straight.com

He may look like he belongs in the industrial band Ministry, but when the Straight caught up with Surrey resident Jeff Shantz, he was standing on the banks of the Fraser River inside the South Fraser Protection Camp.

According to Shantz, who has numerous piercings, he and his wife and kids regularly make the trek from Newton to the protest camp to stand in solidarity with those trying to stop the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Today (April 28), Shantz moved the attention from himself to the students in his criminology class at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

“I do a class on white-collar crime, which is a fairly intense research class; it’s the investigative journalism thing,” the professor said. “One of the groups, what they do is focus on specific corporations or institutions or projects and then dig the dirt on it. One of the groups in that did the Gateway project.”

What they were doing was “digging dirt” on those digging dirt to build the $1.26-billion perimeter road, purportedly to ease traffic congestion. Those opposed claim this will never happen and more greenhouse gases will instead be added to the air as more and more traffic is induced to use the new Gateway roads.

Shantz said those students initially felt they got a raw deal looking into Gateway, when other groups had a chance to look into “Chevron or Halliburton”.

“Then they first started and they looked at it on the surface and they just got a lot of the public statements and the things that the government’s been saying,” Shantz explained. “And they were like, ‘This is going to be great.’ Because they come to Kwantlen and they get stuck in traffic, and they’re dealing with congestion all the time and they’re like, ‘This is great. Why did we get stuck with a crappy project like this?’

“Then when they started to do the research, they had a complete transformation. Once they started to see what was behind it and the harm and the impacts it was going to have, and how it was not going to help them, even with the things they thought it would help them with around congestion.”