Opinion: T2 hearing shows there are better options for West Coast container terminal



Re: Mayor says risks too great to move forward with T2, June 6

I am very pleased to see Mayor George Harvie, on behalf of the City of Delta, express concern and opposition to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s Terminal 2 proposal.

I have attended most of the T2 review panel public hearings. More than two weeks of both general hearing sessions and topic specific sessions have now concluded. The panel now heads to Vancouver Island to hold community sessions, where First Nations will present their views and concerns, before returning to Vancouver to complete and close the public hearing.

Results from these hearings thus far can be summarized down to two fundamental questions:

1. Would the building of T2 result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated? Answer: yes.

2. Are there locations elsewhere in B.C., other than Roberts Bank, that can provide all the container terminal capacity required to meet Canada’s trading needs, with much less environmental damage, without ever building T2? Answer: yes.

During the two-plus weeks of hearings the review panel has received more than 50 presentations expressing concerns about the project. Most of these presentations were very specific. There were also many presentations from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority and stakeholder groups. Generally stakeholder groups expressed support but were much more general and did not offer comments on environmental issues.

The Environment and Climate Change Canada position regarding western sandpipers and shorebirds stated at the public hearing was as follows: “ECCC maintains that predicted project-induced changes to Roberts Bank constitute an unmitigable species-level risk to western sandpipers, and shorebirds more generally, due to the predicted disruption to the salinity regime that supports fatty acid production from biofilm.”

Several expert independent scientists challenged the non-peer reviewed science postulated by Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s. One summarized it this way: "From a scientific point of view, the 2019 Proponent Biofilm report cannot be used as evidence in support of proceeding with RBT2.”

Roger Emsley

This article by Roger Emsley originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on June 10, 2019.