Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More port expansion

If you look at most of the road infrastructure built in the South of Fraser over the last decade by the provincial and federal government, most has been built to support Port Metro Vancouver and commercial goods movement. The new South Fraser Perimeter Road (SFPR) will, for example, connect Highway One to Fraser Docks and Deltaport. In fact, most of the land removed from farm-use in the sub-region has been to support various Port projects. The SFPR itself removed 90 hectares of land from farm-use in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), plus rail expansion for the port removed a further 21 hectares. As part of the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty, 216 hectares of land was removed from the ALR and is now zoned Industrial to support Port-related businesses. All in all, the Port has had a major impact on the South of Fraser. All of this infrastructure and land-removal is likely to support the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal Two expansion.

I was reminded about the Port’s impact in the South of Fraser when I received an email about another project that they are working on. As part of the expansion of the current port facility in Delta, Port Metro Vancouver is increasing road and rail capacity on its land. The latest project that has started construction will include:

-An overpass on the existing Roberts Bank causeway that will separate road and rail traffic
-Reconfiguration of rail track and additional container handling equipment within the Deltaport Terminal
-Rail improvements within the existing railway right-of-way and within a portion of the Option [TFN] Lands west of Arthur Drive
-Road improvements on Deltaport Way to improve the movement of container trucks at Deltaport

You can read more about these infrastructure projects on the Port’s website.

One of the things that I find interesting is that public money is used to support the Port and has gone unchecked. There has been little in the media about the massive spending and impact the Port is having in our region. It is interesting because the Port is a public body with no direct accountability, just like TransLink. Yet if TransLink changes from 1 to 2 ply toilet paper, it becomes a scandal. It makes me wonder why.


Blair said...

I think you have stepped out of your expertise a bit here. The Port of Vancouver and Translink are about as similar as chalk and cheese.

The reason that Translink is in the news is that it is entirely funded by the public and many believe it is not accountable to its stakeholders (the public).

The Port of Vancouver is a self-funding crown corporation. Conter to what you state in your article, it does not take money from the public, rather it generates a profit that goes back into the National coffers. The port is the largest of its kind on the West Coast of North America and serves a critical component in Canada's national economy.

Nathan Pachal said...

Certainly the Port is the second largest on the west coast (LA is bigger), but we as taxpayera are paying for the Port through billions in highway expansion programs and overpasses. We are also paying for it with the loss of farmland and wetlands. I'm not saying that the Port is bad, it is an important part of our economy, but in Langley City (for example) basically all our capital spending is being used to build overpasses due to train traffic which is one of the externalities from the Port.

Blair said...


The City's capital spending plan is for $10.5 million in 2013 of which $2.8 million relates to the overpasses. That is hardly "basically all" of the capital spending.

I would also note that the majority of the funding is from developer cost charges and not general revenue (the remaining monies are from the Casino) so none of that is coming out of the individual taxpayers pockets but from charges specifically set aside in the development process to address these exact issues.

Nathan Pachal said...

25 percent of our capital budget is pretty big considering this is only because of container trains. Also, don't forget this is a multi-year project. There is also the 204th overpass that was built as well.