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GCT proposal for Delta port

Reference Number
8
Date Submitted
2020-11-04 5:31:20 PM
Text

I have lived in Tsawwassen for 10 years. When I first heard about the proposal for T2 I was intrigued and thought it might be a reasonable endeavor. That was until I started reading into the details of the project by the VFPA.

It is truly a sad statement to admit that I have greater belief in the facts that are presented to me by GCT, a private company, than those presented to me by a Federal Crown Corporation and its representatives.

This comment does not come lightly. Having been involved with research for this proposal I cannot believe the facts as presented to me by the VFPA. The VFPA has constantly been changing the goalposts for their data around actual need for this project. As a result they have also changed their business plan to a longer term business plan. The VFPA has been presented by their spokesperson, CEO Robin Silvester. Mr. Silvester has made himself available to any and all business concerns and groups (such as the boards of trade) to espouse the benefits of this proposal. Mr. Silvester has been unwilling to meet with anyone or any group (that I'm aware of) who contradicts or questions his assertions regarding the benefits or issues with this proposal.

This puts the question of the Board of the VFPA on the table. The Governance and external relations committee of the board "provides oversight and guidance with respect to the port authority’s relationships with key stakeholders, such as governments, First Nations, special interest groups, tenants and other customers, in areas with the greatest impact". This issue is likely not of interest to the IAAC in this process. But it should be. The Board is there to protect the Canadian public. If it actually did that we (the public and the IAAC) would not be going through this particular process.

The issue of damage to the biofilm production from T2 has not been discussed with anyone or group (that I'm aware of). The only peer review of the scientific data that the Port has developed/presented has been from ECCC. The ECCC has concluded that the damage will be irreversible and permanent. This information from the ECCC 'closing comment' report was not allowed to be a part of the REVIEW PANEL final report. This completely negates the value of the REVIEW PANEL findings. The report as it exists is based on incomplete information and invalidates the public input process.

The question; 'why was the ECCC closing report kept from the REVIEW PANEL and their final report' remains. It is yet another reason to mistrust either the VFPA or the actions of the Federal Government. The lack of transparency in a project of this scope and with this environmental impact is unacceptable. This issue also completely negates any value that the 'INDEPENDENT REVIEW PANEL' might have had. It discounts any and all public and independent input presented to the panel.

Lastly, and again this is likely not of interest to the IAAC, the business case for this project is seriously flawed. However, this fact underscores the need to be more vigilant over the environmental concerns. If we cannot believe the Port to be truthful over finances for this project how can we believe their scientific evidence? Time and again the REVIEW PANEL asked presenters "why did the public (presenters) not trust the Port scientists"? It is because the Port has been less than truthful in this process.

The overall drive of the Port for this project has been questionable. Time and again we have been told that 'taxpayers would not pay a penny' for this endeavor. The Port has been unsuccessful in three attempts at an "expression of interest" in an operator for this terminal. This would indicate that the project has cost issues likely making it difficult for an operator to be successful financially. This means the project, if built, would likely need to be subsidized. And yet, the Port continues to say otherwise.

At a time when we are in a 'climate emergency' we can't afford to take on a project with irreparable consequences that has no financial merit.

Having said all this about the previous proposal I wish to say this about the alternative proposal from Global Container Terminals: It represents reason.

-The proposal will grow incrementally according to need.

-The proposal has a limited footprint. Less of the environment is at peril.

-The proposal will definitely NOT cost the taxpayer any money.

-Damage to the mudflats will be limited because an unnecessary island and access will not need to be built.

-Unlike the previous lack of transparency from the VFPA, the operator appears to be taking on the proposal in a transparent fashion. There is no underlying need to create "The Gateway to the Pacific" or any other unspoken driver of the VFPA. The project will only be built as and when necessary.

The details are beyond me, I'm no scientist. What I would reasonably expect from this project is a peer review by independent scientist. Something the VFPA, for reasons unknown, has refused to undertake.

This is far too important an environmental location with species endangered and/or at risk. We have international agreements that are being broken if we do not protect that over which we have stewardship. This proposal in scale and transparency is far superior to that of the VFPA and should be chosen over the T2 proposal.

 

Submitted by
Peter van der Velden
Phase
Planning
Public Notice
Public Notice - Public Comments Invited on a Summary of the Initial Project Description
Comment Tags
General opposition to project
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