T2 must never be built


Re: T2 is only project that can meet trade demands, letter to the editor, June 20

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Contrary to Allan Baydala’s letter, the T2 proposal at Roberts Bank must never be approved. It is already seen as a white elephant in terms of a flawed business case, environmental risk and capital cost estimate and would become a big loser for the taxpayers of Canada and the environmental health of the Fraser River estuary.

Baydala pays homage to his former colleagues who are an appointed group, reporting to an appointed group of insiders called a board of directors that have taken control of basically the majority of available harbour land located south of the Fraser River.

Actually, the Port of Vancouver is largely a real estate company. It possesses special powers to purchase land within the provincial ALR zone, pay no municipal taxes and freely impose its agenda on the southern west coast of Canada.

It also tries to dictate public policy concerning land use in the region. In fact, its CEO is on record saying that we need to convert ALR land to industrial and import the majority of our food product requirements from abroad.

Baydala’s letter also boasts about forecasts from leading international consultants and talks about a container capacity crunch by the mid-2020. This is also smoke and mirrors as the port has never met a forecast since the inception of Deltaport for more than a decade. In fact, its forecasting is so bad that it produces three forecasts based on a low, medium and high forecast options.

I can tell you the port has never met medium or high forecasts and usually under performs even at low end. It gets even worse if you deduct U.S. import/export container shipments which have nothing to do with the port’s mandate.

The U.S. container component currently represents almost 30 per cent of its business, and of course such U.S. business brings with it almost no economic benefit to Canada, only pain and suffering, environmentally. If you deduct this U.S.-bound component, the port would show negative growth during the past five years.

Based on actual shipping volume, realistic forecasts and current expansions at all other West Coast terminals, including the Port of Prince Rupert, there is no need to build T2.

If the Port of Vancouver takes its mandate seriously, it should cancel the T2 proposal, start addressing the environmental damage it has already done in the recent past and acknowledge that any future container terminal expansions should go to the Port of Prince Rupert for all the right reasons. That timeline is likely twenty years or more down the road.

On the economic front, it should start sending its (our) rent cheques to Ottawa to pay down the debt instead of spending millions of taxpayer dollars on hiring consultants, buying up ALR/harbour land, self-serving public relations advertising and paying out huge salaries to its own management team.

Hope you appreciate this reality check.

Don Paulsen

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