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Premier pledges $50M or port's rail network

Announcement is part of province's new jobs plan

Premier Christy Clark announced major dollars will be invested to improve the flow of goods at Deltaport last week.

Making the announcement to the Vancouver Board of Trade last Thursday, the $50 million investment is to improve the rail corridor that connects Deltaport to Canada's rail network. It's part of a series of funding announcements in the provincial government's new jobs plan.

According to the province, the rail improvements are part of the planned $200-million Deltaport Terminal, Road and Rail Infrastructure Project in support of increased container capacity. The expansion is to add 600 to 800 new jobs to port operations.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Transportation told the Optimist it's for additional projects to the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program now under construction. The new projects are to help increase container capacity at the port, but not specifically for a proposed expansion called Terminal 2.

Many of the improvements will be on land purchased by B.C. Rail in South Delta for future rail expansion.

"This announcement today is a significant investment into Deltaport, which is essential for B.C.'s position as the gateway to Asian markets and for Canada's success as a trading nation," said Tsawwassen First Nation Chief Kim Baird in a government news release.

"But it is equally important that national infrastructure, such as Deltaport, also benefit local communities through the creation of long-term jobs and economic activity."

Robin Silvester, president and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, was equally pleased.

"Port Metro Vancouver is the cornerstone of Canada's Pacific Gateway," said Silvester in the same news release. "The premier's commitment to this vital infrastructure investment enables us to reliably support growing international trade in an efficient and sustainable way."

Meanwhile, Port Metro Vancouver has been conducting field studies in and around Roberts Bank to assist in evaluating the proposed Terminal 2 project.

Against Port Expansion continues to lobby against further port expansion. A report by APE's Roger Emsley notes the business case to justify T2 is flawed, while there would be hugely negative impacts on Delta affecting the quality of life and its livability.

He also questions why a 1979 expert panel report that concluded a major port expansion at Roberts Bank should not take place because the potential impacts on the Fraser River estuary is being ignored.

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