And so it begins... the next phase of the Deltaport expansion.
The port has its plan and is starting its public "consultation," telling us what the project will entail. I'm sure the local papers will be explaining the project details at the causeway intermodal yards, so perhaps I can speak about the provincial contribution to the expansion. I guess you could say I am helping the port "consult" with you.
First, it is vitally important we understand project jargon. You have probably heard of the Container Capacity Improvement Program (CCIP). That is the umbrella program for the Deltaport Intermodal Yard (DPIY) and the Deltaport Terminal, Road & Rail Improvement Program (DTRRIP). At one point I was told the DTRRIP included Terminal 2 (T2), but I have since been told not so. To encapsulate: the DTRRIP and DPIY are part of the CCIP but not T2.
Second, the premier's "Jobs Plan" bears remarkable resemblance to all the previous government economic development plans. The order of the goals is changed to reflect the latest iteration, which is not to say that if those same long-term plans bear fruit (in the face of the world economy), B.C. will secure the royalties and jobs we need to stay afloat. (We won't discuss, at the moment, what the environmental impacts will be as the province removes barriers to largescale resource development.)
However, back to Delta: the Jobs Plan has a $50 million contribution to the capacity improvement program (remember CCIP?) at Deltaport. The $50 million, however, is directed specifically at the Deltaport Terminal, Road & Rail Improvement Program (the DTRRIP). Even more specifically, it is primarily for "additional rail opportunities" (remember, I'm helping the port "consult") on B.C. Rail land.
It appears there will be an additional passing track between 72nd Street and the causeway, plus additional support tracks west of Arthur Drive. There will be a total of nine tracks between Arthur Drive and 41B Street.
All of the tracks will be on existing right of way or within the "option lands" that B.C. Rail purchased from the Guichons. Port officials tell me the tracks will be within a 200-foot corridor. And in case you didn't know, the tracks are part of what is now called the Gulf [Rail] Yard. (The siding at 72nd Street is the Fisher Yard - another historic Delta name).
The Jobs Plan also mentions the Foreign Trade Zone, which it now calls the International Trade Zone (ITZ). I can't tell you more about the ITZ because when the minister told the Delta North MLA and I during question period that the feasibility report would be available in July, he failed to tell us the report would be termed a draft and thus be unavailable to MLAs.
What I can tell you, however, is that it is the container terminal company that is promoting the ITZ, which to be efficient needs to be close to a port and easily accessible.
I have no doubt at all the government will authorize an ITZ and that it is almost guaranteed to be in Delta and on our agricultural land.
What is becoming apparent is the government intends to industrialize the triangle of land to the east of TFN and bounded by Highway 17 and the rail line. Combine that with the industrial zoning at Boundary Bay Airport near the Fisher Yard and you have a sorry future for the land and community we love so much.
And I haven't even commented on the moral issue of protecting the most important birding area in Canada.
But then, as long as Delta (or as the premier calls us, the "face of Canada to Asia") paves the way to T2 and the ITZ with the CCIP, the DPIY, the DTRRIP and the SFPR, we will have done our job for the Canadian economy.