Friday, March 26, 2010

Followup to SFOT Meeting with Port of Vancouver

Back in November 2009, we had Peter Xotta from Port Metro Vancouver at our monthly meeting. We had some questions for the port which Peter did not have the answer to at the time. We have received the following reply to our questions:

1. Payment In Lieu Information for the Township and City of Langley: How does the Port “pay” for externalities in communities like Langley?
As a federal agency, PMV does not pay property tax. If Port lands are occupied by a tenant, then that tenant pays full municipal taxes. In full recognition of the benefits afforded to us by municipal governments, the Port Authority elects to make payments in lieu of taxes (PILT) on lands that are vacant.

Recently the three area port authorities amalgamated to continue as Port Metro Vancouver. Following port amalgamation in 2008, we recognized there are some differences in approaches that need integration, including to payments in lieu of taxes. We are currently developing a new integrated and consistent PILT policy following amalgamation, and will be advising municipalities of those changes.

In terms of externalities paid to communities such as Langley, contributions are also made through various infrastructure improvements such as the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor. This $300 million project brings together public and private partnership. Port Metro Vancouver will be contributing $50 million towards the overall project which will prove to be beneficial in the following ways:

o Reduced traffic congestion during rail operations;
o Reduced congestion on key road corridors;
o Reduced idling at level crossings and congestion on some parallel facilities;
o Reduced emissions and contributions to greenhouse gas;
o Reduced direct exposure of road users and trains, with corresponding safety benefits;
o Increased agriculture productivity through improved vehicle movements;
o Enhanced bicycle network congestions;
o Enhanced access to emergency service providers (police, fire, ambulance); and
o Reduced sound pollution as train whistling would no longer be required for extended stretches on the corridor.

For more information on the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor please see the following website:

2. There is no example in the world of road expansion in major urban areas that provide long term congestion relief without other measures being put in place (road price, etc.). With that in mind, how will the Port work to ensure that goods movement has priority once the roads fill up again, and protect this “generational investment” so we don’t have to go through all this again?
The best way to ensure that goods movement has priority is to make sure that we share an open communication network with all of the organizations involved. By developing a clear agenda between the Gateway Program, the BC Transit Plan, the Provincial Government, the Federal Government, Port Metro Vancouver, Translink, BC Trucking, the Gateway Council as well as many of the surrounding municipalities, we will be able to set logistical goals and develop solutions for any challenges we may face in the future. Through our open communication channels we will be able to work proactively to ensure the prompt and efficient movement of goods in order to protect this “generational investment”.

3. What percentage of GHG emissions are reduced by a.) Shore Power and b.) The tiered Harbour Dues System?
a) The impact of shore power on GHG emissions does depend on how long ships are connected while in port. In 2009, PMV completed 11 test connections, meaning that the ships were not connected for the entire duration of their visit. During this time, there was an average in 48% reduction in all emissions, including GHGs.

Based on these tests, and on how quickly each ship connects and disconnects, emission reductions could potentially be in the range of 90% per call. At PMV this means a potential reduction of 90% of all engine emissions per cruise ship connected to shore power, per call.

b) The Harbour Dues Program was not designed to target GHG emissions in particular, but focused on incentives for reducing criteria air contaminants, particular sulphur oxides and particulate matter. However, one of the purposes of this program was to encourage early adoption of lower emissions alternatives ahead of international shipping regulations. The Program therefore also incents the reduction of GHG emissions as co-benefits by offering reduced harbour dues for shore power, use of natural gas and use of biodiesel.

4. Is any of the modeling for Rail Traffic available publicly?
Rail is regulated by Transport Canada who are currently leading a rail service review. For more information about this review and to access publically available information, please follow this link.

5. Is any information on the Patullo Bridge Rail/ Road available publicly?
After assessing the existing bridge, Translink has came to the conclusion that it will build an entirely new bridge rather than invest more money into the existing structure. Maintenance will continue on the existing structure while this 10 year project takes place.

6. Do you have any information or a report about the need for replacing the New Westminster Rail Bridge?
The New Westminster Rail Bridge will be replaced as it was built in 1904. It now accommodates 30 million tonnes of cargo to and from the Burrard Inlet. The estimated replacement cost is $110 million.

More information can be found on the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council website located under the 2030 visions

7. What is the Port doing to protect environmentally sensitive areas in which it operates?
There are many environmental initiatives that take place in areas where the Port operates. Some examples of these are Northwest Ports Clean Air Strategy, Differentiated Harbour Dues Program, Land Conservation, habitat mapping, and much more.

We are also involved with the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) and the Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Plan (BIEAP) in order to ensure proper management of these two significant aquatic ecosystems in the Lower Mainland.

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