Growing port doesn't appear to be answerable to anyone

Our neighbour, Port Metro Vancouver, is a federally regulated activity that has no accountability to us in Delta. Its articles say it is accountable to federal Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt. However, as reported last year, the minister said she does not "interfere" with port operations.

All of which leaves one wondering: "Who is minding the store?" The South Fraser Perimeter Road, or Highway 17 as it is now known, was to be built for the port at an estimated $700 million by former premier by Gordon Campbell. It was completed for about $1.3 billion, of which $300 million was a federal contribution.

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The B.C. taxpayer paid $1 billion to move trucks up the valley and totally screw up commuters from Tsawwassen wanting to go to Vancouver. Nice play, Port Metro. But remember, this was in "the national interest."

Last year the CEO of the port was quoted as suggesting the Fraser Valley would be better off if it was industrial land. Is this what we voted for? Who controls land use in Delta? Last fall our premier announced that her government had reviewed discussions involving the George Massey Tunnel and an eight-to 10-lane bridge was to replace the tube. "Details to follow" meant we don't know how much it will cost, but we're going to do it anyway.

Meanwhile, there are stories that despite higher costs for a bridge, the port wants to remove the tunnel so bigger ships can go up the Fraser River. Port staff, however, indicates the bigger ships cannot turn around up the river, so what's the real story? Recently some sleuthing by a Vancouver Sun reporter found the port had been planning to dredge Vancouver Harbour to allow for larger tankers to Kinder Morgan's site to load up on dil-bit to ship to Asia. The dredging plan was put on hold when it was discovered Metro Vancouver weren't about to replace the water lines under the harbour with a new tunnelled line. Hence, the ships will load to 85 per cent of capacity.

Last winter, as part of its improvement program (note it is not called expansion), the port was busy remediating the shoreline in Delta. As one wise person asked: Why remediate unless you intend to destroy something later? No answer.

All of this brings me to ask the question: What is the port really up to? In planning for a dramatic increase in tanker traffic, it compares Vancouver to Singapore. Thank you, but have we seen this plan, debated it, and when did we decide we want to be comparable? Why is the port afraid to really talk about its plans for Delta? Does it believe it already has approval for Terminal 2, a doubling of the container handling capacity that is there now? What is the port up to? Who will decide?

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