What does the Port of Vancouver know that it is not telling us? Former British Columbia Premier and former Mayor of Vancouver Mike Harcourt has written in the Vancouver Sun that Port executives and the board of directors “are pushing a little-known master plan that would displace Vancouver waterfront, Canadian-owned agricultural processors and grain shippers in favour of a massive container terminal.”
A new massive container terminal is also on the Port of Vancouver’s books for Roberts Bank near Tsawwassen. Everyone used to a clear and transparent process has assumed that the outcome of the huge new Deltaport Terminal was wending its way through the Federal review process. Most people also assumed that there would be some severe pushback with the huge environmental impacts this new terminal would create.
The Tsawwassen First Nation has expressed worry about this shipping expansion as fish stocks decline.The existing terminal at Roberts Bank protrudes through an eelgrass seabed that is used by migrating juvenile salmon. I have already written about the proposed port terminal’s impact which would make extinct the flight path of the Alaska bound migratory western sandpiper, that feeds exclusively on the biofilm available only at the proposed site of this new terminal.
To give you an idea of the size of this project, Stephanie Wood in the Narwhal notes that the new terminal “will double the size of Deltaport, creating an artificial island about the size of 150 football fields. The Fraser estuary has already lost 70 per cent of its salmon habitat, and the proposed project would deplete an additional 177 hectares'”.
The Port of Vancouver is already hiring an engineer to manage the infrastructure delivery of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Procurement Process, and that has been published on the Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia job page.
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Port Vancouver) are looking for a Manager (to report to the Director) to “deliver infrastructure projects related to terminal construction, land reclamation, and/or terminal and road/rail access. This billion dollar plus project is a design-build in the planning stage and will involve support for contract formation before transitioning to heavily technical construction management.”
You can take a look at the complete job description which includes items like building a “high performing team”, “building and maintaining relationships with Indigenous groups, partners, and other government agencies, tenants, stakeholders, and the community; including the negotiation of agreements while maintaining the port’s reputation in all matters.”
This position will be staffing up positions and working with ”Legal, Infrastructure Real Estate, and Planning Departments to ensure that land tenure and project permitting requirements are clearly understood and advanced as required.”
And perhaps my favourite metric: “Representing Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in negotiations, at conferences and conventions, and in the media as required, ensuring clear communication of the business strategy and key messages, and the presentation of a positive and professional image of the business.”
But there’s more: on December 7, 2020 Delta Council heard a delegation from Global Container Terminals (GCT), which is the group that runs the existing container terminal of 85 hectares (210 acres) at Deltaport. While claiming not to be unhappy with the proposal for Deltaport’s Terminal 2, they have developed another option, building an expansion off their existing terminal in Deltaport. As they stated to Delta Council, their proposed option for expansion is in their words “the most economical way to grow the port and provide competitive offerings.”
The GCT called their proposal a “different” way to proceed, and surprisingly admitted that there is enough capacity in this shipping gateway “until the early 2030’s”.
It should be noted that this international port does not run on the 24 hour clock like most ports along this seaboard, which in itself could provide more efficiency in using the terminal.
What is the truth?
Why would the Port Authority be hiring a procurement manager for Deltaport Terminal 2 if it is not a done deal?
This article written by Sandy James about Proposed New Port of Vancouver Delta Terminal Done Deal? Hiring for Construction originally appeared on PriceTags.ca on December 14, 2020.
Watch: Environmental impact of Port of Vancouver’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2