Sunday, February 20, 2011

Time for Delta to send clear message to Port Metro Vancouver - NO!


Re: T2 moving to front burner, Feb. 5
When questioning Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) executives about their recent announcement of a second container terminal on Roberts Bank, a message I heard several times was - Delta, suck it up, it is good for the economy. It is time that Delta sent a clear message back to PMV - no more port expansion, enough is enough!
If we allow PMV to build a second container terminal in Delta our traffic nightmares are going to get much, much worse. Their plan for Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is to more than double the capacity of the existing container port. This port currently generates close to 2,000 truck trips a day. Imagine what Highways 17 and 99 are going to be like when there are well over 5,000 truck trips a day. No, the South Fraser Perimeter Road will not help - most of the port trucks use the Massey Tunnel and some go along River Road. And then there is the increased train traffic that uses the single track rail corridor to and from Roberts Bank. It is already congested and causing noise and air pollution problems, We are soon going to have port traffic gridlock in South Delta. That is unless PMV is prevented from building another container terminal.
There are many more reasons that PMV must be stopped. Our community group - Against Port Expansion - has grave concerns with the PMV announcement about the construction of Roberts Bank T2 and the many negatives this will have on the environment as well as the social fabric of Delta.
Here are some of the questions that need to be asked of PMV:
- 2010 container volumes are the same as 2007 and Deltaport has plenty of spare capacity. Where is the justification for building T2 when the expanded Panama Canal, the soon to be open Northwest Passage, and expanded U.S. ports are all likely going to divert container traffic away from Vancouver?
- Why is PMV deliberately underestimating the current capacity at Deltaport? PMV says it can only handle 1.8 million TEUs. TSI - the port's operator - is on record as saying they can handle 2.1 million TEUs and similar ports in other parts of the world can handle as many as 2.7 million TEUs with the same number of berths.
- Is it true that PMV intends to downsize its container ports in the Vancouver inner harbour and move the traffic out to Roberts Bank?
- Why is PMV ignoring a 2008 federal government study that recommended against any more port infrastructure investment and expansion in the Vancouver area until the Prince Rupert Container Port opportunity has been maximized
- With over 50 per cent of PMV containers going to Eastern Canada and the USA, Prince Rupert is the logical choice for handling this traffic - it is two sailing days closer to Asia and provides a shorter and more efficient rail link to the East. Why is this not a better solution?
- Why is PMV risking severe damage or perhaps even the destruction of Roberts Bank ecosystems? Estimates indicate that increasing numbers of species are threatened worldwide and given the ecological significance of the Fraser River Estuary to fish and wildlife that make it unique in North America; why is PMV pursuing further industrial and port development in the heart of this habitat on Roberts Bank?
- Deltaport already emits significant levels of pollution. Imagine what Delta will be like with huge increases and unacceptable levels of light, noise and air pollution. Why is port expansion more important than our environment and the livability of the region?
Environment Canada has described Terminal 2 as a high impact, high risk project. As we know Environment Canada experts also had significant concerns in respect of the Deltaport third berth expansion. However the experts were overruled by their political masters. With environmental damage already having been done by the construction of the third berth how much more can the Roberts Bank wildlife and ecosystems take?
Not only that but with Terminal 2 on the horizon we are likely to see the go ahead for the planned container storage on the adjacent foreshore as well as the 17 tracks of the B.C. Rail Yard. These coupled with the destruction caused by the South Fraser Perimeter Road will alter South Delta forever.
How do we stop PMV? By calling on politicians to speak out against T2. Make your views known to our mayor and council, our MLA Vicki Huntington, our MP John Cummins. Ask them to tell the provincial government, the federal government and Port Metro Vancouver that Delta does not intend to become a doormat.
If you value the quality of life in South Delta then act now - before Port Metro Vancouver turns this area into a port slum.
Roger Emsley
Executive Director
Against Port Expansion Community Group

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