Will ‘cheerleading’ minister get his federal colleagues to approve T2?

Editor:

Unbelievably, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has again shown the arrogance and disrespect to the environmental review process for its Terminal 2 proposal.

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After extensive public hearings, expert testimony and documentation, the “review panel” has submitted its report on this application. The panel produced an extensive report that points out serious negative environmental impact on the Fraser River estuary, fisheries, shellfish, orcas, shorebirds, other wildlife and the public. It is an extensive report and now must be reviewed by the minister of environment & climate change for his recommendation prior to going to the federal cabinet for project approval or not.

As I understand it, the minister has delayed the process for 90 days due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, it is unbelievable the VFPA does an end run and is said to be applying for DFO approval on this application. One has to ask: Why are they doing this?

To me, the answer is quite simple as I believe it is following instructions from Transport Canada. Based on insertions thus far, it appears Minister of Transport Marc Garneau is a “cheerleader” for the VFPA. Now the question must be asked if the federal transport minister has his cabinet colleagues on side and will our prime minister allow him to strong arm them into approving T2? It does seem to be the way things look at this point in time.

Out of desperation, we see the port now suggesting that the federal government approve T2 as an infrastructure project to help re-start the economy after COVID-19 is under control.  How absurd!

The port is suggesting the government of Canada forget about the environment on the West Coast and make T2 a “make work” project.  I think not!  If the federal government has infrastructure funding for the West Coast then it could put it to better use by providing funding for the Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, rapid transit, low cost rental housing for the homeless or help our municipalities and cities who are in dire need of funding due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

There is no reason to approve this project as we have lots of positive alternatives to ensure that Canada has ample capacity for container shipping requirements for several decades into the future.

You should know that we have some excellent options, including expansion at the Port of Prince Rupert, the future conversion of Westshore Terminals to a container terminal as well as the free enterprise proposal from Global Container Terminals at the existing Deltaport site.

In fact, if all three projects were to proceed we would likely have several empty container terminals that should never have been built and that will not be needed.   

Let us all do a reality check and turn down T2 once and for all.  The VFPA’s vision makes no sense and would put this project in the same category as Mirabel Airport, still well known as the Liberal Government's White Elephant in the province of Quebec and an ongoing burden to the taxpayers of Canada.

Don Paulsen

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