The damning environmental assessment for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project, recently published by the federal review panel, has stunned the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Its recent statement on the report makes it clear it was not expecting the panel to identify so many areas where T2 will result in significant adverse environmental impacts.
So now the port authority has stooped to a new low, using COVID-19 as a means to promote T2, stating that it hopes the federal government will back the T2 project to support the COVID-19 recovery. What a ridiculous commentary.
With container volumes dropping drastically - Vancouver Fraser Port Authority volumes are down by over 12 per cent versus last year and industry predictions suggest the downturn will last for all of 2020 - why would the port authority or the government believe that T2 will help in the economic recovery? Cleary lower volumes mean more spare terminal capacity. Why waste taxpayer dollars to support a project that is not needed now and with terminal expansions already underway elsewhere will never be needed?
Why ask taxpayers to support a project that will result in irreparable environmental damage to the world class Roberts Bank ecosystem?
Not only that but the port authority is deliberately understating the actual project cost. It is not $2 billion as it states. Its own figures peg the cost at $3.5 billion and given that construction would not start for two years it is obviously going to exceed $4 billion. This would make it by far the most expensive container terminal anywhere in the world and the federal government would never recoup its investment.
Canada does not need to waste government funds on another Mirabel (the costly failed airport in Quebec built by a former Liberal government which is now being torn down).
The federal government must take action quickly on T2.
Tell the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority sooner rather than later that approval for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project is denied and must never be built.
This article about the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority using COVID-19 to seek government support for Terminal 2 by Roger Emsley originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on April 21, 2020