Thursday, June 27, 2013

Port Metro Vancouver - Terminal Two: Consideration of Consultation Input

For the past several years, I’ve been following the consultation process that Port Metro Vancouver is working through for its proposed 190 hectare Roberts Bank Terminal Two expansion which will add 2.4 million TEU of container handling capacity to the port by 2024 in South Delta.

Earlier this year, the Port released the results of its first round of public consultation on the proposed project which included feedback from participants. In most consultation processes, once input is received, it seems to go into a black hole never to be heard from again. A participant really has no idea if her or his input was used. This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that Port Metro Vancouver has released a “Consideration of Consultation Input” document.

This 43-page document outlines the major concerns and questions that came up during the consultation, and shows the Port's response. The following is from the document:

Skepticism that Port Metro Vancouver is concerned about its impact on the environment

Preserving the environment is a core value for Port Metro Vancouver. Our programs work to minimize impacts of port operations as well as enhance the surrounding environment.

As the first North American port to employ a dedicated team of specialists to address issues concerning the environment, Port Metro Vancouver shares this vital responsibility with Transport Canada, Environment Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Metro Vancouver, and with the support of other local organizations.

We are committed to operating in a responsible manner to safeguard the environment and the health and safety of our employees, customers and the public.

The Port responded to many of the concerns brought up in the consultation by essentially saying that it may study the issues further, and could implement mitigation measures based on the results of the studies. It appears that the Port will be working on a collection of baseline condition studies on the marine environment, agricultural productivity, transportation network, light pollution, noise pollution, and air quality. The Port will use these baseline studies to model how the proposed port expansion will impact the baseline, and hopefully proposed and implement mitigation measures.

While there are few direct action items that the Port is undertaking as a result of this consultation phase, the Port does plan to do something about noise. Many residents that live in the area are concerned about the noise that the Port will produce during and after the construction of the expanded terminal. The Port plans to install noise monitors in the area.

I’m happy that the Port has decided to respond to the concerns and questions raised during the consultation, and I hope that the Port will continue to follow up in addressing the concern raise once it has finished its baseline studies.

I would like to see this kind of followup from other organizations that engage in public consultation like local governments, the Province, and TransLink.

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