Guernsey Press

Island needs financial security, not a tunnel

I THOUGHT it was April Fools’ Day when I read the headline on the front of the Guernsey Press on Thursday 7 March outlining the increasing interest in building a tunnel between here, Jersey and France. With both islands now considering such a venture. Want to be big, think big, think feasibility, costs, running and maintenance.


And before any of that, financial stability, did not the majority of the island’s population spend most of last year objecting multiple times to the introduction of GST by P&R. And on what basis was P&R building its case, that the island required the additional money in order to sustain current levels of vital services. And to pay for States projects of which Education is decades behind already.

Guernsey is in debt, strapped for cash and the island has returned to the concept of building a tunnel as a joint venture with Jersey (if sense prevailed between the two islands) were it to go ahead.

1. What financial benefit would such a venture bring to the prosperity of the two islands?

2. What has Guernsey got to offer that would bring in an influx of additional income through such a link?

3. What effect would such a link have on Aurigny?

4. The feasibility of Condor as a passenger service?

5. And what of the cost, how is the island going to find the resources for such a venture? Guernsey isn’t in a good financial position now according to all accounts.

Just for a minute, let us forget about any negative aspects and look at the costing based on the following figures put forward in the article of between £10,000 to £50,000 per metre:

Guernsey to Jersey: 41.9 kilometres at a cost of between: £419m. to £2.095bn.

Jersey to France: 60.7 kilometres at a cost of between: £607m. to £3.035bn.

A combined cost of between: £1.026bn to £5.13bn provided that it remains on budget and on time.

Guernsey to France as an alternative route: 74.8 kilometres a cost of between: £748m. to £3.74bn. Honestly, are any of these routes viable at such astronomical costs, even if Guernsey and Jersey were to join forces?

I doubt if France would see this project as a viable proposition. There would therefore very likely be no contribution towards the cost from France. And then again would France even grant land access?

It would also open up another land crossing between continents which would have to be constantly manned. Look at the issues with the Channel Tunnel between France and the UK. The number of undocumented immigrants who use it to escape across the Channel.

If such a venture went ahead, upon completion, would that not also become a major problem for both islands and how would we cope?

The island doesn’t have unlimited resources as we’ve already seen. The island needs financial security before venturing beyond our shores. To finish, begin and complete projects that have been on the backburner for decades which have yet to come to fruition, let alone complete.

Would the States finally abandon the ongoing debate over whether to extend the island’s runway or not. It continues to rear its ugly head decades after the island had the opportunity to do so for peanuts compared to today’s costing.

The States needs to stop haemorrhaging money before any such venture can ever be deemed financially feasible. The article mentioned it would take seven years to build a tunnel, how many centuries to pay for it?

Unless, of course, someone outside of the island was to step in and pay for it. And then there is the cost to those who would use it – how much?


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