Thursday, January 14, 2016

Federal pre-budget feedback

In an effort to engage the Canadian public the honourable Bill Morneau, Minister of Finance, has invited feedback for the budget. The following letter was sent along with regards to the REAL CHANGE directive and how it can affect Delta and the Fraser Estuary as well as Metro Vancouver.
There are a number of projects planned for the Delta area that will negatively affect the local area and the environment of the Fraser River Delta. They are;

-Adding a second container terminal to the Roberts Bank

-Replacing the Massey Tunnel with a 10 lane bridge

-Bringing deeper hull ships up the Fraser River to the Fraser Surrey Docks

-Shipping larger quantities of (American) thermal coal from the Fraser Surrey Docks

-Adding facilities for the handling and shipping of LNG gas


It is clear that the Port Metro Vancouver impetus is from an economic development and jobs based perspective. We are constantly reminded that we need “more industrial land” and “greater container capacity” and that when these needs are fulfilled everyone will benefit.


A lot of the information that PMV has made available in these regards has been questioned.  Environmental concerns have been marginalized and container traffic growth has not been accurately presented. Any public consultation has left the local people feeling less than satisfied and unheard for ALL of the planned undertakings. This includes the planned bridge. The Provincial Government has not been forthright in the business case for removing the tunnel and building the bridge. The only apparent reason for removing a tunnel (that by all accounts will be functional for decades to come) is to allow deeper hull vessels up the Fraser River.


Two American ports have refused to handle thermal coal for environmental reasons. It is not clear why PMV has chosen to let this coal be shipped from the Fraser Surrey docks without any real environmental impact studies. The Fraser Surrey Docks do not have a stellar environmental record and PMV has done nothing to ensure that they improve.


At this moment a state of emergency has been declared in California from a methane gas leak. The leak has been spewing the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide from 7 million cars DAILY into the atmosphere since October.  According to SoCalGas it will be 4 months before the storage facility can be capped to stop the leak. This is exactly the type of scenario depicted by research from the Pembina institute, which states that 30% of gas losses in the production chain will be at a terminal or handling facility. According to Pembina figures this could amount to 4 million tonnes of carbon pollution ANNUALLY for Delta.


It is for the following reasons that we hope that the Liberal government will review all of the Port Metro Vancouver undertakings from the REAL CHANGE perspective.

Terminal 2 expansion

-Is the second container terminal necessary

-why is it being considered when studies have chosen other port developments

-do the economic benefits outweigh the;

            -loss of farmland

            -the environmental consequences to the Fraser estuary

            -the increased strain on Vancouver roadway infrastructure

And, lastly; if this development is to go ahead why are we not making more stringent environmental requirements of PMV in the construction and operation of this facility. Why are we not asking PMV to live up to their vision:

"Inspiring support from our customers and from communities locally and across the nation,"

or their 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


In a recent article PMV claimed to be concerned about it’s investors. PMV is a Federal Crown Corporation, making the Canadian public its sole stakeholders. This corporation should be held to a higher standard. It is doubtful that they inspire “support” or “national pride” at any public level, especially in Delta.

Replacing the Massey Tunnel
            -why is this even being considered; this tunnel will remain viable for decades to come

            -the tunnel is much more effective at vehicle fuel use than the bridge

            -how does the additional dredging affect the Fraser River and why has this not been studied in depth before making this decision

            -why is the need for deeper hull ships the deciding factor behind a Metro traffic infrastructure decision

  Building the 10 lane bridge

-the bridge will NOT improve traffic infrastructure for Metro Vancouver. It only enhances traffic from South Surrey and Delta as far as Richmond

-the bridge will actually add to traffic difficulties into Vancouver at both the Oak Street and Knight Street corridors.

-it is a known planning fact that this bridge will add to urban sprawl. This will take away prime farmland from an area with Canada’s best climatic conditions

- importing more food products will make Canada more dependent on products it can now produce and for which a LOCAL market exists with limited transportation requirements

-the additional stress for residential development will put more (not less) strain on the Oak Street and Knight Street corridors into Vancouver

-massive amounts of additional carbon pollution will be created daily to climb the grade to the bridge and to navigate the ramps to and from Steveston and Ladner

 Thermal Coal and LNG

            -the Fraser Surrey docks have a less than stellar environmental record and have created an adversarial relationship with Metro Vancouver over regulations. PMV has done nothing to control this tenant, allowing them to go to court rather than regulate them. With this corporate attitude it is hard to believe that no government agency can/will step in and take control.

            -without an appropriate protection structure PMV appears content to show little concern over these locally expressed issues

            -is LNG the way of the future? If so why are we not making the necessary requirements for a safe and protective industry?

“If LNG development proceeds as the B.C. government hopes, we will face a climate challenge nearly as big as the Alberta oilsands, and all the risks and reputational issues that go with it.”  Alison Bailie of the Pembina Institute

How are the people of Delta protected? Only the Federal Government appears to be capable or interested if we can believe Canada’s stance at Paris and the Real Change incentive.  This will present new opportunities to develop new sustainable economic proposals and a chance to correct old ones.

It is hard to believe that the economy cannot be developed in a more sustainable way. As Prime Minister Trudeau has expressed, “It is 2015!” Please, let’s get serious about REAL CHANGE; put a halt to all of the PMV proposals on the Fraser River. Stop all funding to these projects and let’s do some serious planning for the future!             

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