Port Expansion Threatens Roberts Banks
Delta BC October 18 2012 - Port Metro Vancouver is back on its expansion bandwagon, announcing that it now plans to build a second container terminal (T2), with three additional berths on Roberts Bank and adjacent to the existing Deltaport. This is no surprise – we predicted that this was the track they were on almost two years ago.
What is a surprise however is the chosen location. Their plan to build another man made pod 5.5 kilometres off shore will likely destroy all the remaining bird-friendly biofilm and remove Roberts Bank as a critical link in the international migratory chain of shorebird staging sites. This would result in population level consequences to the birds and would be an impact that could not be mitigated. Both Environment Canada and Department of Fisheries and Oceans previously identified this as a risk. Not only that but T2 is in a very exposed location, vulnerable to severe weather and storms such that they would have to shut down operations when there is even a moderate wind – all too common in that area.
Against Port Expansion (APE) – a Delta BC based Community Group - is firmly opposed to any further container port development on Roberts Bank. Why risk the destruction of one of the most important wetlands on the west coast of North America? Roberts Bank is a major stopover point on the Pacific Flyway and a critical feeding area for millions of shorebirds. Not only that but light pollution from the existing Deltaport is already causing problems – for wildlife as well as for the residents in Delta. Add to that the diesel pollution and noise from the ships, trains and trucks, the threats to wildlife (including the endangered Orca Whales), and it is clear that there should be no further industrial development allowed on Roberts Bank.
Canada does not need the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Container Port – not now or any time in the foreseeable future. “Port Metro Vancouver handled fewer containers (TEUs – twenty foot equivalent units) in 2011 than in 2010 and only marginally more than in 2007” stated Roger Emsley, Executive Director, Against Port Expansion Community Group. “Even if Port Metro Vancouver manages a steady annual growth of say 5 percent, (which could be lower with possible losses for ships diverting via the Suez and Panama Canals straight to East Coast ports) then by the year 2020 Port Metro Vancouver may still handle less than 4 million TEUs annually” he further commented.
There are alternatives. One of the two inner harbour terminals wants to double its capacity and other Vancouver area terminals are looking to expand. Prince Rupert’s container port is also expanding and is a much better routing for Eastern Canada and US destined containers. Taken together therefore all of British Columbia’s container ports have capacity to handle container volumes for many years to come.
With even small productivity improvements the BC West Coast could well have container port capacity of 11 million or more TEUs – WITHOUT BUILDING ROBERTS BANK TERMINAL 2.
Enough is enough! Stop the Industrialization of South Delta. We call on residents, elected officials and all groups concerned with protecting the environment to Say NO to T2.
About APE: Against Port Expansion in Delta is a group of concerned citizens who recognize that plans for container terminal expansion on Roberts Bank will see the degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; the industrialization of prime agricultural land; and the loss of globally-significant habitat for salmon, migrating birds and orca whales. It is a broad based community group from various backgrounds. For more information visit www.againstportexpansion.org