Re: Public to finally have a say on T2, March 14
The in-depth article provides a well-balanced viewpoint, however, there are several statements from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) that are misleading.
There is no validity in the notion that Canadian containers will be forced to travel via the U.S. As Global Container Terminals has stated, the U.S. traffic now routed through Canadian ports is discretionary. Port operators have stated they would divert U.S. containers to U.S. ports if there is a need to do so in order to accommodate Canadian traffic.
It is also worth pointing out that handling U.S. containers at Canadian ports adds nothing to the Canadian economy. If you follow the logic under the VFPA scenario, T2 would be built to handle U.S. traffic. Where is the sense in that?
The VFPA claim that even with expansion at Prince Rupert T2 is still needed is also false. Container traffic through Prince Rupert is growing at almost three times the rate of VFPA. The Prince Rupert container facilities are growing to meet the demand. Their expansion is being done in phases and they have potential for a full build out to between four and five million containers.
VFPA also conveniently forgets a federal government study done by leading experts several years ago. One of their recommendations was to maximize Prince Rupert’s potential before building any further container facilities in Vancouver.
Finally, the VFPA’s paid consultants conclude that T2 “...is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.” None of the port’s environmental studies have been peer-reviewed by experts independent from the VFPA. However, independent experts are already challenging these conclusions, siding with Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) in stating that building T2 will indeed adversely impact intertidal biofilm and, consequently, migratory shorebirds in general, and the western sandpiper species in particular.
ECCC also notes the negative impacts will be immediate, continuous, irreversible and cannot be mitigated.
The T2 project should have been abandoned a long time ago. Once the independent scientists explain the negative environmental impacts to the panel during the public hearings this should put the final nail in the T2 coffin.
To continue with Robin Silvester’s metaphor, rather than entering the stadium, T2 is about to double fault at match point.
This article by Roger Emsley originally appeared in the Delta Optimist as a letter to the editor on March 22, 2019.