OPINION: T2 has failed any kind of environmental scrutiny



Re: T2 is only project that can meet trade demands, letter to the editor, June 20

It is interesting that even a retired Port of Vancouver official still espouses the benefits of a project that has failed to pass any sense of environmental scrutiny. The most recent admonishment is a definitive statement by the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada.

It states the damage caused by this development will irreparably harm the biofilm food source for the shorebirds. These birds depend on this omega-rich protein for their annual northern migration.

This directly contradicts the port’s own findings which claim this proposal will have “no significant impact” on the environment.

The reason that “no other project has even started this process” (of environmental assessment) is that the port has never intended to consider another project.

The Global Container Terminals Inc. (GCT) proposal to extend the existing terminal comes at approximately half the cost with less effect to the contested tidal waters that supplies the biofilm food source. As well there have been favourable arguments for the extension of the Prince Rupert terminal.

Allan Baydala argues the return on investment of a GCT extension may be less favourable. What he hasn’t discussed is the incredible federal subsidies that are presently at play that favour the port proposal. For instance, the federal government and BC hydro put up millions of dollars to finally bring shore power to Delta. The federal government has also proposed to pay for shore power to T2. This after years of port CEO Robin Silvester telling us T2 won’t cost the taxpayer any money.

The statement that Baydala makes about this project going through “the country’s most rigorous federal environmental review” is patently wrong and needs to be corrected. The environmental assessment is restricted to that of the Harper era. Full-scale environmental impact studies (for community) was never done, and a cumulative effect impact assessment (as they are now called) for all the port undertakings on the Fraser River has never been required. Under today’s rules, this would be required.

Lastly, Baydala claims the business case is solid. If this is true, please let us see the business case. The only container trade that is rising is that of Prince Rupert, which has the added benefit of a two days shorter sailing time than Delta.

Peter van der Velden

This article by Peter van der Velden originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on June 28, 2019.