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Residents rally against expansion plans for Deltaport

Cliff Caprani, a Ladner resident and chair of Citizens Against Port Expansion, argues the risk is not worth the reward to Deltaport
Cliff Caprani, a Ladner resident and chair of Citizens Against Port Expansion, argues the risk is not worth the reward to Deltaport's proposed Terminal 2.
— image credit: Adrian MacNair Photo

Opposition to Deltaport's proposed Terminal 2 is growing in Delta, with a new group called Citizens Against Port Expansion hoping to block it from proceeding.

Port Metro Vancouver's Terminal 2 plans include a four-fold expansion of container shipping that's expected to increase trade.

But Cliff Caprani, a Ladner resident and chair of CAPE, says it's not worth the cost.

"There's absolutely no question that the loss of farmland is going to be significant," he said. "The amount of stuff that will be required to be paved over is just appalling as far as we're concerned."

It's an issue that has grabbed the attention of Metro Vancouver's  regional planning committee, which on Friday called on federal Transportation Minister Denis Lebel to ban PMV from expropriating farmland for the expansion.

While the federal government has the legal authority to override provincial or local government laws, it's not clear whether those powers flow to PMV's expansion project and the Agricultural Land Reserve intended to save valuable farmland from being developed.

Caprani said CAPE has been meeting once a month since last April, and began with a concept of responsibility as Christians.

"One of the things we're interested in is the notion of stewardship, and in very simple terms, God the creator has given us this wonderful planet and has charged us with looking after it to the best of our ability."

He said the loss of habitat for birds species and the Pacific flyways of migratory birds is a big risk with port expansion.

Caprani said CAPE isn't anti-business or anti-trade, but argued the terminal already does enough trade as is.

He said PMV seems to see Terminal 2 as a "done deal" and that sort of arrogance is troubling to residents. But he does think it will be difficult to stop it.

"I was talking to somebody recently and I said I think this is a sort of David versus Goliath situation," said Caprani. "And my friend laughed and said, no it's not, Cliff. It's a David versus many Goliaths situation."

CAPE is holding a public meeting on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 2-4 p.m. at the Sundance Inn, 6574 Ladner Trunk Road.

Local activists and politicians will act as a panel to offer information or share concerns, including Roger Emsley, Ian Robertson, Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington, Mary Taitt, and Delta North MLA Guy Gentner.

For more information, email citizensagainstportexpansion@gmail.com.

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