Port Metro Vancouver won’t rule out Deltaport expansion beyond Terminal 2

Port Metro Vancouver says it has no plans to expand capacity at Roberts Bank beyond the proposed Terminal 2, but will not rule out the possibility of further  expansion. - File photo
Port Metro Vancouver says it has no plans to expand capacity at Roberts Bank beyond the proposed Terminal 2, but will not rule out the possibility of further expansion.
— image credit: File photo

Port Metro Vancouver says it has no plans to expand capacity at Roberts Bank beyond Terminal 2, but will not rule out the possibility altogether.

According to Cliff Stewart, vice president for infrastructure at Port Metro Vancouver, the port is currently examining the “cumulative effects” of other projects which are reasonably foreseeable and how they might impact Roberts Bank.

He cited the Kinder Morgan TransMountain Pipeline proposal as an example where approval could impact the number of transiting vessels and underwater noise.

“If you go back and look at the environmental assessment of the Third Berth Project you will see T2 as it was understood at that time,” he said. “You will see the effects in that assessment.”

When asked whether Terminal 2 would be the final expansion at Deltaport, Stewart said there’s no way of knowing.

“What is the carrying capacity of the planet? We’re talking about Terminal 2. We’re not talking about what else might happen.”

But critics of Terminal 2 are concerned the project is only another stage in the ever-expanding superport.

Delta South MLA Vicki Huntington said she’s skeptical that environmental studies currently underway at Roberts Bank will explore the impact to Delta’s environment as a whole.

She said the Port isn’t interested in balancing the needs of the environment with the economy, but only in satisfying specific environmental concerns of government agencies.

“[Port Metro Vancouver] sees Delta as theirs and their long-term plan is to build one of the largest ports in the world. And they won’t stop until they’ve done it. We’ll be like Singapore.”

According to Port Metro Vancouver, Terminal 2 is needed to meet growth projections of cargo volumes by 2030. A three-berth twin container facility would provide additional capacity of 2.4 million twenty-foot equivalent container units per year.

The expansion would create 18,200 direct, indirect and induced jobs in the transportation sector and $620 million in wages.

Cliff Caprani, a member of the Delta group Against Port Expansion, said he doesn’t believe environmental damage caused by expansion can be mitigated, nor is he convinced Terminal 2 is the final build out.

“As long as an entity like the Port believes it can go on ahead unopposed then it will always continue to expand,” he said.

Caprani said that reading through the Port’s own environmental studies has not convinced him that the project should proceed.

Port Metro Vancouver is still in the process of developing its environmental impact statement, after which time the federally-appointed independent review panel will take approximately 14 months to examine the data.

Stewart said an independent review panel is the most rigorous process available under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and it will decide whether the project should proceed.

“Those who are minded to examine it critically but be open to what they find, I think they will find that there is no concern there,” he said. “There are obviously people who aren’t open to what we find and obviously we can’t help them with that.”

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