Saturday, July 4, 2015

Another lettter to Port Metro Vancouver

In response to Mr. Cliff Stewart, Vice President Infrastructure, Port Metro Vancouver: "Interest by investors demonstrates need for T2". This article appeared in the Delta Optimist May 6, 2015. 

The bulk of Mr. Stewarts comments in this article are of an economic nature. This is quite appropriate as a response to the (economically perceived ) “need” for Port Metro’s terminal 2 project. However, as an argument for desire for Terminal 2 it fails badly. Sadly Mr. Stewart, whose bias is one of port infrastructure, cannot speak to the major community  argument against the project; how it affects the environment.

What Mr. Stewart calls the “most stringent process by an independent review panel” has been questioned at every turn by the community and a number of very well informed professionals. So far the public input meetings for this environmental  review have been little more than a public relations exercise that Port Metro is legislated to undertake. Port Metro has steadfastly refused to deal with the larger picture of environmental concerns caused by all of its undertakings.

Delta will be affected by larger ships going further up the Fraser when the bridge is built. This will require dredging the channel further eroding the delta’s natural habitat. These ships will bring more truck traffic on top of the increase from Terminal 2 causing more pollution. These ships have not been required to use shore power. American ports are far ahead of Port Metro in this. Not only does diesel power cause more pollution, it means older, poorly outfitted ships that can’t be used in ports like Los Angeles will be docking here. As a result, we have more pollution.  Lastly, more Industrial land will be required off the South Fraser Perimeter road. Farmland prices are already under pressure due to the speculative purchasing of land for future Industrial use. Where and when will this stop? I haven’t even broached the issues of shipping LNG gas from Tilbury or the increase of soft coal export from the Fraser Surrey Docks.

What Mr. Stewart hasn’t touched on is that Port Metro, as a Federal Crown Corporation has a very large investor; the Canadian public. Port Metro has a vision; “inspiring support from our customers and from communities locally and across the nation” and a mission statement:  To lead the growth of Canada’s Pacific Gateway in a manner that enhances the well-being of Canadians and inspires national pride”.
If the community were polled about Port Metro’s various undertakings on the Fraser the response would be very interesting. I very much doubt that “inspiring support and…national pride” or “enhancing the well-being of Canadians” would ring true for anyone in Delta.

Should Port Metro really want to live up to its mission statement or achieve its vision it will need to prove that the community feels the “need for T2”, not just investors.

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