Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Port Metro Vancouver Land Use Plan - Phase 1

Earlier this year, Port Metro Vancouver started a consultation process for its new land use plan. Right now the Port has three different land use plans from before the Port was merge. The actual consultation process started earlier this year with work on the draft land use plan set to start late in 2012. The final plan will be adopted by December 2013. One of the things that Port Metro Vancouver told me last year was that the community is now supposed to be completely integrated with the Port Metro Vancouver planning process. This kind of planning is not traditionally what happens with organization like the Port though last year South Fraser OnTrax was part of the pre-consultation process for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.

The Port's land use plan will address Port growth and development, regional land use, local communities, environment, and transportation and goods movement. The first phase on the process just wrapped up and the Port has released the results. Overall, the community told the Port that their plan must:

1. Use existing lands efficiently and intensively
2. Balance competing land uses
3. Protect the environment and habitat areas
4. Improve transportation and supply-chain efficiencies
5. Engage and communicate effectively
6. Develop greater coordination and collaboration

The one of the major topics that the Port will have to address is the protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve. In fact “Balancing completing land uses” has the most space dedicated to it in the summary report of the 6 key themes. This is not a surprise given the fact that the ALR in Delta is in being threatened today with the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road while big dollars are behind a plan to remove land from the ALR near Deltaport for “industrial” use. All the destruction of the ALR is being done in the name of the Port. Another topic of concern is the protection of sensitive habitat as Port land serves as home for many species of animals and is part of the pacific flyway for migratory birds.

While reading some of the information on the plan, I noticed that climate change mitigation was one of the major concerns for the Port. “Experts predict that sea levels will rise between 20 and 60 cm over the next hunderd years. Increased severe weather could lead to more frequent flooding along the Fraser River. Much of the Port’s land and infrastructure, along with other waterfront lands in the region, would be at risk of submersion.”

It will be interesting to see how the Port moves forward as it develops its land use plan over the next year, and if the plan will address the concerns of the community.

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