Q&A with all candidates: The future of Roberts Bank
The Delta Optimist asked candidates running in Delta in this month’s federal election a series of questions on issues that have local connections.
Terminal 2, a proposed container terminal at Roberts Bank, is making its way through the federal approval process. Are you in favour of T2? If not, would you rather see a fourth berth at Deltaport or see container capacity expansion accommodated elsewhere? Or do you feel there’s adequate capacity without expansion at Roberts Bank?
Randy Anderson-Fennell (NDP)
T2 would cost up to $3 billion in public money — your money. Other options for port expansion put forward by private companies promise to be less expensive with a much smaller impact on the environment. Yet any port expansion surely comes with a level of automation that puts family-supporting jobs at risk — an estimated 9,200 jobs provincewide, according to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. We must balance all these interests to do what’s best for Canadians, and that requires further stakeholder engagement and creative solutions.
Tanya Corbet (Conservative)
Delta is and has been Canada’s trade gateway. Having the right infrastructure to enable and support trade is essential for our community, for our province, for our country, and our quality of life. But we also won’t be Canada’s doormat, where everyone but Delta has a say. Currently, the project is under federal review, however if the project is to be approved, the needs of our community must be met, including resolution of traffic congestion at the George Massey Tunnel.
Craig DeCraene (Green)
I am not in favour of DPT2 or fourth berth expansion. The lands around Roberts Bank are too important to further damage the environment. Studies have shown the negative impact on migratory birds and salmon stocks. Utilization of inland ports is a much more environmentally conscious way to go, like the inland port in Ashcroft for instance.
Angelina Ireland (People’s Party)
I believe the need for additional container handling infrastructure on the West Coast currently proposed by Port Metro Vancouver, that is T2, must be satisfied only by expansion of the existing Roberts Bank terminal coupled with further expansion of facilities currently ongoing at Prince Rupert. The addition of the fourth berth to Deltaport (DP4) operated by GCT is the better alternative. It will increase container capacity when necessary, have the most environmentally responsible impact on the migratory birds and crabbing areas, and save taxpayers billions of dollars.
Carla Qualtrough (Liberal)
Deltaport is Canada’s largest container port and a significant contributor to our economy. It is also located in globally significant wetlands. At this time, I’m not convinced the environmental concerns with port expansion, RBT2 or otherwise, can be adequately mitigated. I’m also not convinced expansion is warranted, particularly as the existing port footprint has not been maximized. I’m concerned our transportation infrastructure cannot handle more trains and trucks, and concerned about using farmland for industry. These concerns must be sufficiently addressed.
This article originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on October 10, 2019.