Port expansion talks reveal concerns

South Deltans question necessity of new terminal

Deltaport's expansion was being questioned by South Delta residents at recent public consultation meetings.

When it comes to another Deltaport expansion, local residents want to know more about its potential impact on transportation, the economy and agriculture.

That’s according to a summary report released by Port Metro Vancouver based on public feedback from a series of pre-consultation meetings.

The proposed Terminal 2 project, part of Port Metro Vancouver’s Container Capacity Improvement Program, would add another multi-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank. With an expanded capacity of two million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) per year, the port authority anticipates the addition would meet growing import and export demand in the Pacific Gateway.

In June, 73 people attended seven pre-consultation meetings which focused on topics residents want to discuss during the consultation phase. Facilitated by Kirk & Co. consulting firm, the sessions were held in communities across the Lower Mainland. Three of the discussions took place in Ladner and Tsawwassen.

According to the summary report, meeting attendees in South Delta want to know more about the impact of moving goods in containers through Ladner and Tsawwassen and what road, rail and ship infrastructure might be needed to support increased operations associated with the proposed project.

Some South Delta participants asked to be consulted about the potential impacts of the project on agricultural land, while others wanted to learn more about the economic effect of the project, specifically how small businesses and the local job market might benefit.

Still others wondered if the Deltaport expansion should proceed at all, suggesting the addition of more container capacity at Prince Rupert as a better option.

When asked about their preferred method of consultation, respondents from all communities said they would be most likely to attend small group meetings or open houses. Email was the preferred communication method for most.

Port Metro Vancouver will use this feedback to help shape the scope and content of future consultations. The port expects to carry out seven rounds of public consultations over the coming years.

An independent environmental assessment must occur before construction can begin. Subject to environmental approvals, the proposed project could be built adjacent to the Deltaport and Westshore terminals in phases, based on market conditions.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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