Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Roberts Bank Terminal II Public Consultation Update

For a few years, I’ve been following Port Metro Vancouver as it goes through planning and public consultation for the proposed expansion of its Deltaport Terminal with the 190 hectare Roberts Bank Terminal Two expansion project. I was involved early on in the pre-consultation, and you can read about the meetings held in 2011, 2012, and 2013. These pre-consultation meetings were meant to make sure that the materials presented during the public consultation contain information that people are interesting in, and that the feedback that the Port asks people during the consultation is relevant to public concerns.

Earlier this year, the Port completed its first round of public consultation which addressed the high-level aspects of the project including environmental, social, and economic impact. You can read more about this in a post I wrote this summer. The Port is now about to launch into the next phase of public consultation which will focus on the early design considerations for the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal Two. Consultation material will be posted to their website on October 7th. The Port will be hosting small group meetings and traditional open houses throughout the region. You must register to attend the small group meetings by emailing container.improvement@portmetrovancouver.com.

South of Fraser Small Group Meetings:

Wednesday, October 9
Coast Hotel and Convention Centre
20393 Fraser Hwy, Langley

Thursday, October 10
Delta Town & Country Inn
6005 Hwy 17, Delta

Tuesday, October 15
Surrey Arts Centre
13750 88 Ave, Surrey

Personally, I find the small group meetings the best opportunity to provide feedback and also ask questions. You can find more information about the date, time, and location of open houses on their website.

The Port has also setup an online forum called PortTalk to allow people to provide feedback about this project, other projects, ask general questions, and post their concerns about the Port and its operation.

It is good to see that the Port has so many ways for people to provide feedback, but I sometime wonder if that feedback changes how the port operates. There has been concerns about increased coal exports from the Port. This received lots of media attention. It wasn't until there was extreme public pressure that the Port started to respond to people’s concerns. Some have accused the Port of green-washing projects.

Port Metro Vancouver has launched a new Sustainability Vision and Strategy Initiative Advisory Panel which includes the likes of Kinder Morgan and Canadian Pacific Railway, but also includes the World Wildlife Fund Canada and Pacific Salmon Foundation. It will be interesting to see how effective this panel is.

Compared to a decade ago years ago, the Port is doing a better job of connecting with the public. The challenge is that the Port has the mandate to increase goods movement through its facilities even if the social and environmental costs are high. This will only change if the federal government, who the Port is accountable to, requires the Port to consider the economic, social, and environmental bottom line. Without this change, projects like the Terminal Two project are almost certainly a done deal.

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