There is a great opportunity for our elected officials to do the right thing.
The federal review panel’s report for the Terminal 2 proposal is clear: Environmental issues with threatened species will put these species in danger. No matter how much the port promises to mitigate these issues, the damage will be done if T2 is allowed to go ahead.
Mitigation is the firefighting approach to management. In other words, it is really just mismanagement. The species concerned are species that are relevant to the environment, not just for Canada, but for the world’s ecosystems. Canada has signed treaties promising to protect these species and has a responsibility to fulfill these agreements.
The Liberal Party has made a lot of promises regarding the environment. One of these was to “partner with provincial and territorial leaders to develop real climate change solutions, consistent with our international obligations to protect the planet.”
After a lengthy “public consultation process” it is clear the panel was used to show the public was consulted. Whether the public was listened to remains to be seen.
This panel refused to look at two reasonable alternatives that are more ecologically and financially sound than the project proposed by the Port of Vancouver. The reasons for this are unclear. The expansion of the Port of Prince Rupert was not considered. And yet, this is the only port that shows signs of container shipping growth. There are reasons for this. The port is two days closer in shipping time and it is cheaper to ship cross-country from Prince Rupert.
A report released in August by an association of more than 1,300 climate groups said Canada’s climate change plan was among the worst of the G7 nations. The report said Canada’s policies are consistent with more than twice the stated goal of the Paris Agreement.
A report on emissions showed 706 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were produced in Canada in 2017 — an increase of eight million tonnes from 2016.
We continue to slide on environmental targets when climate change is the third most important issue for Canadian voters.
Here is a chance for our government to act according to its stated goals and to do the right thing. The two alternatives to this project will allow container shipping to grow and both will do less harm to the environment.
Do the right thing and cancel the T2 project.
Peter van der Velden
This article about the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project by Peter van der Velden originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on April 18, 2020