Tag Archives: Transportation and Urban Planning

McNab Beach - just below a proposed gravel mine in Howe Sound

Gravel Mining Project Threatens Ecological, Recreational Treasure in Howe Sound


“Anywhere else in the world, Howe Sound would be a great National Park”
  Dr. Murray Newman, Former Executive Director – Vancouver Aquarium

A large part of the beauty and international appeal of British Columbia’s West Coast can be found in the natural environment of Howe Sound.  Over the past 20 years, Howe Sound has been the subject of millions of dollars in reclamation projects to restore its health, paid for by industry and you the taxpayer.  Regrettably an Alberta based company has proposed a large scale gravel mining and crushing facility at McNab creek that will set back these rehabilitation efforts, especially for local salmon populations.  This proposal comes at a time when the recovering health of the Sound has led to sightings of Pacific white-sided dolphins and grey and killer whales for the first time in decades. We should not allow this progress to be placed at risk.

The massive project as filed by Burnco Rock Products Ltd, envisions at least 1 million tonnes of gravel extracted per year from the creekbed area with spikes up to 4 million tonnes. During the project’s first phase, a 77 hectare industrial pit would be dug out of the McNab Creek estuary to depths of 55 metres below surface grade and more than 15 metres below the water table.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), the proposed project is likely to result in the destruction of fish habitat which cannot be compensated elsewhere in the Sound.  In its comment on the project, the DFO stated that they “continue to have serious concerns about the extent of the impacts to fish and fish habitat that may result from this project” and concluded that “The project presents a high risk to Salmon and Salmon habitat.”

In addition to the risks to fish habitat, the project description indicates the site could be home to up to 20 species at risk, including a population of Roosevelt Elk that were transplanted to McNab Creek by the BC Ministry of Environment in 2001 in an effort to re-introduce the species to the area.  The McNab Creek estuary and surrounding waters are extensively used for recreational and commercial fishers, tourism operators, boaters, recreational property owners, numerous children’s camps and other compatible users – all placed in profound jeopardy by the Burnco proposal. 

Despite concerns voiced by DFO, local governments and local community groups, the Burnco project has recently begun a review by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

This unfortunate situation clearly illustrates the absence of a long term planning strategy for Howe Sound.  The need for a specific Howe Sound plan has been formally recognized by twelve local governments and First Nations representing the communities in the Sea to Sky corridor.   In September 2002, they signed a “Principles of Co-operation” Agreement which identified the importance of community involvement in the consideration of issues affecting Howe Sound and the need to “work together for the greater good because territorial lines on a map mean nothing in terms of sustainability”.  Notwithstanding the wishes of local governments and First Nations, the review of the Burnco project is proceeding without any long term planning process involving those interested parties.

If approved, the Burnco Mine proposal will cause permanent, irreversible damage to a unique natural estuary that is home to at risk species and will also endanger ongoing efforts to sustain marine biodiversity in Howe Sound. In addition, important jobs and significant economic activity and opportunity in recreational tourism and commercial fishery will be put at risk.

Currently, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) review of the project is underway and the initial public comment period on the proposed project closed on February 3, 2012.  CEAA is reviewing the project description and is expected to issue the draft Environmental Impact Study guidelines shortly.  The draft guidelines will be subject to public comment and there is expected to be further opportunity for public participation at other stages in the review.  A companion review will also be conducted at the Provincial level and the BC Environmental Assessment Office is expected to initiate the process by the issuance of the draft Application Information Requirements (AIR) later this spring.  There will be public comment solicited on the AIR.  There is expected to be further opportunities for public participation during the Provincial review process although no timeline for public participation has been published at this time.

It is critical that members of the public and community groups make their voices heard during both the Federal and Provincial review processes.  Information on the Federal CEAA review can be obtained at www.ceaa.gc.ca and on the BC EAO review at www.eao.gov.bc.ca

Further developments regarding the next steps in this review process and details of how to make your views known will be posted at futureofhowesound.org.  To be kept informed of the status of the review process, join our mailing list for ongoing updates.

Les Morton is a representative of the Future of Howe Sound Society.


Metro Vancouver Pushes Back on Secret Land Deal in Delta Which Would See 600 Acres of Farmland Converted to Port Use


Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on Metro Vancouver’s reaction to news of a secretive deal orchestrated by the Emerson Real Estate Group to buy 600 acress of prime farmland in South Delta and convert it to rail yards and other uses connected with the expansion of Deltaport. The story was broken this week by Independent MLA for the region, Vicki Huntington. (April 5, 2012)

The battle to save Metro Vancouver’s agricultural land is heating up, with regional officials pushing back at the potential loss of 600 acres of prime south Delta farmland for port expansion.

Directors at Metro’s environment committee Wednesday agreed unanimously to have staff investigate an option-to-purchase agreement for the active farm land, which is now in the Agricultural Land Reserve but is tagged for a logistics and rail yard for the province’s Gateway Project.

Metro directors argued Wednesday that the 11 parcels of farmland, between Highway 17 and Deltaport Way are protected by the ALR, are not zoned for industrial use, and are earmarked as green space in Metro’s Regional Growth Strategy.

The opposition voiced by Metro directors Wednesday may well be at odds with the province’s plans to expand port operations in Delta and increase road and transportation routes for goods.

Lawrence Frank, Bombardier chair at the University of B.C., said the situation comes down to a trade-off between health and quality of life versus preserving agricultural land and there should be a special plan in place to determine where and why expansion is happening in a certain area.

He noted Metro Vancouver is affected locally by a national objective to move goods and supply the economy and Deltaport has been tagged as the gateway for good movements. Having logistics facilities next to Deltaport, he added, would create health benefits for the region because goods would not need to be trucked across the Port Mann Bridge and Knight Street, reducing traffic congestion and impact on residential areas.

“We have to be very careful of the loss of any agricultural land at this point; it’s critical,” said Frank. “But there’s a need to deal with competing interests and regional planning around logistic and goods impacts.

“Our local economy benefits from being a port city. We’re going to have to take the good with the bad.”

Metro directors insist there are alternatives. They also suggested staff examine the possibility of barging containers from wharfs in Surrey, New Westminster and Port Rupert.

“It’s a real blow against agriculture when that much land is taken out,” warned Richmond Coun. Harold Steves, vice-chairman of the committee.

Directors argue the regional district has already lost thousands of acres of farmland to senior government developments such as the Tsawwassen First Nation treaty settlement and the provincial government’s Gateway Project, which includes the four-lane South Fraser Perimeter Road — a 40-kilometre transportation route that would run along the south side of the Fraser River from Highway 1, around Port Kells in Surrey to Deltaport Way in South Delta.

The provincial government claims the Gateway Project will reduce truck traffic and increase the movement of goods and services throughout the region.

The BC Gateway Transportation Strategy, released earlier this week, also supports private-sector investments in new “transload” and integrated logistics facilities, along with $2-billion in improvements to the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2.


Province Clears Controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort in the Kootenays


Read this report from CBC.ca on the Clark Government’s approval of the controversial, billion-dollar Jumbo Glacier Resort proposal in the Kootenays.(March 20, 2012)

The B.C. government has approved development of the controversial Jumbo Glacier Alpine Resort, the country’s first year-round glacier-based ski resort.

The $1-billion development 57 kilometres west of Invermere, B.C., was first proposed — and cautiously endorsed by NDP Premier Mike Harcourt — in the early 1990s.

Since then, the project had passed all necessary regulatory and environmental hurdles, but stalled on final provincial approval.

On Tuesday morning, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson announced that final obstacle had been cleared and the ski resort was approved by the province.

“After more than 20 years of comprehensive and exhaustive reviews, it was time to make a decision. I approved Jumbo Glacier Resort’s master development agreement after reviewing all of the relevant documentation, and meeting with both First Nations and the proponent,” said Thomson in a statement.

The province says the project will attract $900 million in investment and create 750 permanent jobs…

The resort plan has divided residents in the Kootenays. A poll commissioned in 2008 found the project lacked public support, but proponents welcome the jobs and tourists the project will bring to the region.

Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett, a longtime supporter of the Jumbo project, said he’s relieved to see the provincial government finally make a decision.

“This project has, for over 20 years, divided Kootenay communities. I am grateful for a final decision,” said Bennett in a written statement on Tuesday. “No matter which side of the debate you’re on, the majority of folks in the East Kootenay will be relieved by the certainty.”

Opposition to the news came quickly. Even before the official announcement was made, the NDP was highly critical of the decision.

“People in the Columbia Valley have been absolutely clear. They feel strongly that building a resort in this area does not make sense,” said Columbia River-Revelstoke NDP MLA Norm MacDonald in a statement released Tuesday morning.

“It doesn’t make sense environmentally or economically, and putting the B.C. Liberal stamp of approval on it doesn’t change a thing.”

NDP Leader Adrian Dix believes approving the resort is the wrong choice.

Read full article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/03/20/bc-jumbo-glacier-approval.html?cmp=rss


Dianne Watts Calls for Light Rail in Surrey


Read this story from the Vancouver Sun on Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts’ call for building light rail in Surrey as a cost-effective solution to long-term vehicle congestion as her community continues its rapid growth. (March 13, 2012)

METRO VANCOUVER — Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts is renewing her call for light rail transit south of the Fraser River, arguing rapid buses or a costly SkyTrain line to Langley won’t reduce increasing gridlock on city streets.

Watts said city taxpayers give $160 million every year to TransLink, but the city is not getting the transit service it needs to meet a growing population that is set to reach 750,000 by 2040.

In the past five years, the city’s population has grown 18.5 per cent — more than three times the national average of 5.9-per-cent growth in metropolitan areas. About one-third of the population is under the age of 19.

“When we’re faced with the growth we’ve had exponentially we see the challenges in that,” Watts told a packed crowd at her annual state-of-the-city address at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel.

Using the same stage backdrop — depicting a light rapid transit train — as last year, Watts said light rail is not a “request of the month” and she won’t give up fighting for it. She noted three light rail train lines could be built for less than the cost of a $2-billion SkyTrain extension to Langley.

Just adding more buses won’t be efficient enough, she argued, and rapid buses are “not 21st century.” A SkyTrain to Langley, she said, would run through Green Timbers Park and cut Fleetwood Town Centre in half. This would hamper the city’s goal of encouraging denser town centres, she said, and would only offer service between Vancouver and Langley when 80 per cent of transit trips in Surrey are expected to be in the city itself. Watts said that by 2040, the number of vehicle licences issued to Surrey residents is expected to increase by 50 per cent, while road capacity will rise 12 per cent, meaning a 40-per-cent boost in congestion and gridlock.

The city is in line for a B-Line bus service along King George Highway from White Rock to Guildford, buses from White Rock to Langley and a rapid bus along Highway 1 over the new Port Mann Bridge. A new Pattullo Bridge is also included in the TransLink plan. A study on a potential rapid transit line extension to Langley, linking to the King George station, is also underway. But Watts insists this should be light rail and not SkyTrain, because it will help shape and connect communities across Surrey’s vast land base.


Review of B.C.’s Dysfunctional Carbon Tax Aims for Repairs in 2013 Pre-election Budget


British Columbia’s controversial and widely misunderstood carbon tax will soon be subjected to a comprehensive review with the results likely to be revealed in next year’s budget, just in time for the tax to become another pre-election political football to be kicked around by voters and political parties in the run-up to the May 14, 2013 voting day.

B.C. Finance Minister Kevin Falcon announced the move in his 2012-13 budget speech, and a few more details were provided in budget documents, but there are still no details on who will do the review and only a few bits are known about how and when, namely that citizens will have the opportunity to make written submissions to the Minister of Finance and that “changes will be considered as part of the 2013 Budget process” (which usually begins in earnest in the Fall and leads to formal announcements in the February budget). Further details of the review were to be posted on the Ministry’s website: http://www.gov.bc.ca/ca/fin/.

Though that move is thus open to many partisan political manipulations, such as the B.C. Liberal Party potentially trying to use it to portray the B.C. New Democrats as anti-job if they oppose any changes, Falcon made it clear that there also are numerous practical considerations about the carbon tax that need to be reviewed, notably providing some early relief to the export-oriented agriculture and greenhouse industries but possibly including other areas related to air emissions and climate change such as the Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown corporation seen by many as dysfunctional because it taxes hospitals and schools among other flaws.

The carbon tax is now applied to fossil fuels and other combustibles based on their equivalent carbon dioxide emissions and generates roughly $1 billion a year which is applied to a variety of tax expenditures to make it ostensibly revenue neutral to government. It began on July 1, 2008 at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) – i.e. less than a year before the 2009 provincial election that also featured the HST fiasco – and grew by $5 annual increments but will now be capped when it reaches $30 per tonne on July 1, 2012 or about 6.7 cents per litre of gasoline.

“The review will cover all aspects of the carbon tax, including revenue neutrality,” said a discussion paper in the budget documents, which is a reference to the revenues being dedicated to pay for a 5% cut in personal income taxes ($218 million in 2011-12), the low-income climate action tax credit ($188 million), a corporate income tax cut ($381 million), a small business tax cut ($220 million) and several other boutique-type tax cuts and credits needing to be pulled in as the revenues rise (e.g. this year the new childrens’ arts and sports tax credits and the Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit were added).

Curiously the carbon tax expenditures of $1.15 billion in 2011/12 exceeded the revenues of $960 million by $192 million but in years ahead the revenues are expected to grow and exceed the expenditures so new subsidies from the carbon tax are being targeted to science and film incentives to maintain an increasingly-farcical revenue-neutral balance, as Independent MLA Bob Simpson (Cariboo North) pointed out in an interview.

Falcon gave assurances that the government will still “continue moving forward with other components of our Climate Action Plan” such as the LiveSmart home retrofits program, tax incentives for buyers of “clean” or electric cars, and subsidies to help convert heavy-duty vehicle fleets to natural gas, all of which appear to be healthy on-going programs.

However that list of surviving initiatives strangely omitted mention of the government’s also-controversial Pacific Carbon Trust corporation which separately runs a carbon offsets program that public-sector entities are required to participate in and which is seen by Simpson and many other observers as a costly misuse and waste of taxpayer dollars (e.g. taxing school districts and hospitals that are already in financial distress).

“We remain committed to addressing climate change. However, four years in, the revenue-neutral B.C. Carbon Tax remains the only one of its kind in North America,” Falcon said in the Budget speech, noting that the rate increase on July 1 is the last one scheduled which makes now “a good time to pause and examine how the carbon tax is affecting our economic competitiveness.” The budget tax measures legislation includes an amendment to clarify that the carbon tax will continue beyond June 30, 2013 but will be capped at $30 per tonne.

In the budget lockup and subsequent media appearances Falcon reiterated his pride in the government’s leadership on the carbon tax and noted that putting a price on carbon is necessary if you want to address climate change but since no other provinces have followed and the Obama administration has backed off it has become necessary to review B.C.’s plans and probably make some changes, possibly including to the Pacific Carbon Trust.

“Keeping parts of the Pacific Carbon Trust would reinforce our role as leaders on the environment front and I don’t want to give that up,” Falcon said on Vaughn Palmer’s Voice of B.C. show on Shaw TV (viewable online), suggesting changes could be rolled out “in coming months” – but also hinting that Falcon looks upon the whole policy area as a battleground in partisan politics too.

That also hints that a structural change could emerge too in which the carbon tax revenues would be redirected towards Pacific Carbon Trust activities, perhaps replacing the monies now paid in by school districts, health authorities and local governments – even becoming a subsidy for urban transit as Metro Vancouver officials have been recently seeking.

Falcon seemed to avoid such ideas and instead repeatedly focused on the carbon tax impacts on agriculture in general and on greenhouses in particular, noting they will be hit hard when the Harmonized Sales Tax is removed and replaced by the Provincial Sales Tax on April 1 next year so removing the carbon tax would help them survive and remain competitive in export markets, a promise welcomed by Independent MLA Vicki Huntington of Delta South in recent remarks in the Legislature.

Meanwhile Agriculture Minister Don McRae said the government has been working closely with greenhouse operators to create an environment that supports growth and in the weeks ahead will work to that end to provide carbon tax relief.

That precedent of reforming what some have seen as an untouchable sacred cow could help start a number of other carbon and climate policy reforms, many of which will be welcomed by critics such as MLA Simpson and B.C. Conservative Party leader John Cummins and some of which will be regretted by environmental activists, with the B.C. New Democrats so far remaining more or less silent, probably because they suffered in the 2009 election from having a confused policy on the carbon tax.

Cummins stands out by stating that the carbon tax will be the first tax eliminated by a B.C. Conservative government, when he spoke to a post-budget lunch meeting of the Surrey Board of Trade, apparently believing that such a tax cut would create jobs, but his only suggestion so far for replacing the tax revenue has been spending cuts by government, which is nonsensical if one looks at the size of government as a proportion of GDP as was done recently on the Tyee website by pundit Will McMartin, revealing that the Campbell regime has already cut government to the bone.

Nonetheless there is a widespread view especially among fiscal and political conservatives that the carbon tax and its related programs such as the Pacific Carbon Trust have become a confusing mish-mash of contradictory and perverse concepts that kill commerce and services and fail to achieve their supposed goal of combatting global warming or climate change.

When you go online to research the B.C. government’s climate program you find a blinding montage of pretty photos and padded rosters and not many details or numbers until maybe the end of a document if at all. And as Simpson in particular complains, the Pacific Carbon Trust is not open to legislature or public purview even though it is a Crown corporation, the Legislature is exempt and some entities are taxed twice, such as health authorities paying both carbon tax and emissions charges.

That suggests part of the reasons for Falcon’s somewhat unexpected foray into carbon tax and climate policy is to do some political damage control, to make some changes that will mollify such criticisms before they become a political albatross for the Liberals in the 2013 election campaign.

In fact there are still quite a few good things happening in this policy area too, such as energy retrofits of public-sector buildings and private homes, and projects such as the Carbon Offset Aggregation Co-operative of Prince George which on Feb. 24 received $2 million from Environment Minister Terry Lake to help heavy equipment operators and trucking companies retrofit their vehicles’ engines to lower their carbon emissions (though social program advocates could argue that that money would have been better spent on something like addressing child poverty or on home care to help keep seniors out of more costly institutions).

But what you also find, as Simpson pointed out in an interview, is that beneficiaries of such energy-efficiency handouts have an amazingly high rate of also being donors to the B.C. Liberal Party, which ratio he estimated at 95%, and that some of the projects being subsidized might have been done anyway and so should not be considered as incremental for climate purposes.

Simpson interestingly has become such an expert in the whole area that he was singled out for praise by Falcon on the Shaw cable show but that didn’t stop Simpson from calling the Liberals’ various climate programs “bizarre” and “goofy” and “confusing” and “unfair” and even “totally bogus”.

That latter epithet was regarding the government’s initial decision and continuing policy to apply the carbon tax to consumers and public-sector entities but to exempt carbon-intensive industries such as cement plants and natural gas scrubbers, the latter venting methane into the atmosphere comprising about 20% of the province’s total emissions but none of which are subject to a climate tax, and about half of that is now coming from fracked shale gas. Another large source of emissions not being taxed is landfills (i.e. garbage dumps).

B.C. Green Party leader Jane Sterk also drew a connection between climate policy and party politics, surmising that if the government does choose to appoint an outside committee to review the carbon tax (as it has done in other policy areas such as tax reform) then most of the members will be donors to the B.C. Liberals and oriented towards business and industry.

Sterk also shares some skepticism about what the government wants out of the process and what will be done versus what should be done, whether it is to redesign a better carbon tax (which could be done without a review) or merely tweak the system to make it better understood and more acceptable.

“I expect the review will recommend scrapping the tax because other jurisdictions have not followed suit and to rely instead on joining the group of jurisdictions committed to cap and trade,” she said, or it could reduce the tax by half to reflect the reality of it being uncompetitive but still demonstrate some commitment to climate change.

She also predicted the carbon tax will be a key issue in the next election campaign, with the Liberals possibly promising to eliminate the tax if re-elected but also trying to trap the New Democrats similar to what happened in 2009 when the NDP wanted to “axe the tax” but have since swung around to supporting it. However the New Democrats have been silent on the issue of late and did not respond to requests for a comment for this article.

Sterk believes the carbon tax was poorly designed and has become regressive for low-income people and she says the Pacific Carbon Trust needs to be improved but she still wants to retain the carbon tax, hike it to $50 a tonne and keep raising it, and apply it to large emitters while directing some proceeds to transit, rail, biking and pedestrians.

“Our policy on the carbon tax needs to be seen in terms of our overall policy which is to move to regionally self-sufficient and resilient economies,” she said, linking climate change to food security, job creation, health and social and community well-being.

Sierra Club BC executive director George Heyman said the government’s announcement of the carbon tax review sends the wrong signal at a critical time when scientists say we need immediate action to slow global warming.

“Real climate leadership requires long-term commitment, not a one-time gesture,” said Heyman, surmising that the government is definitely looking for a way to get out of the carbon tax either fully or partially.
“This is a government that, at one point, showed leadership on pricing carbon. What they’re saying now is: `We expected everyone to follow us and they didn’t so we’re going to back out of it.’”

Heyman said there should be a systematic expansion of carbon tax coverage to all B.C. sources of carbon emissions but B.C.’s natural gas strategy alone will make it all but impossible to meet the province’s legislated carbon reduction targets, and that the Liberals are not prepared to be honest about the need to develop a low-carbon economy that can assure sustainable, jobs-intensive employment for future generations.

Simpson also believes the government should put a tax on industrial process emissions and with no cap-and-trade on the horizon that the proceeds should go first to Pacific Carbon Trust and then to general revenues, with changes made to PCT, which now gets most of its revenues from the public sector even though it produces less than one per cent of total emissions.

He said the government’s clawback of money given to public agencies such as school and hospital boards is a complete distortion of tax policy and a wrong thing to do when those agencies do not have taxing powers, and that is further distorted because those entities have to pay $25 a tonne for offsets when their market value is only about $4 a tonne.

He noted there are numerous unfair aspects in the system, such as the school districts getting rebates when others don’t, and the health authorities being double-taxed with the carbon tax on the fuels they use and a $25 per tonne charge on emissions.

“To me the issue is we have a finance minister who has never been enamored of the carbon tax … and now is saying enough is enough,” said Simpson, explaining that the Liberal caucus was caught unawares when former premier Gordon Campbell suddenly “got religion” on the need for a carbon tax to address climate change and though the original intent in 2008 was to change behaviours there has been little evidence of that and meanwhile many people in rural areas complain they are being taxed on things they have no choice about.

Simpson said the Liberal government now seems to be after three things, an end to the revenue-neutral nonsense and an easier way to find valid projects to invest in, an end to further increments in the tax, and some relief for sectors being damaged such as agriculture and possibly log truckers.

A roster of the public agencies and what they’re emitting and paying to invest in offsets shows a total of about 800,000 tonnes and offsets worth $18.2 million. It can be viewed in the appendix at:

In any case the carbon tax review could and probably should be seen as an opportunity to make some changes that are progressive and constructive, which is the gist of an op-ed article published Feb. 28 in the Vancouver Sun by Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation, Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute and Merran Smith of Tides Canada.

After citing international examples of how carbon taxes have stimulated green industries and prosperous economies, they conclude that B.C. also could have a win-win solution for the environment and the economy.

“Communities could see new investment and jobs, a balanced transportation system, reduced traffic congestion, cleaner air, more green spaces, energy savings, and, best of all, a better quality of life. But only if we demand it,” they wrote, urging people to participate in the review proces

The following two items are unedited news releases from the stated sources:

PRINCE GEORGE – Environment Minister Terry Lake announced $2 million in funding for the Prince George-based Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative (COAC).

This first-of-a-kind program helps heavy equipment operators and trucking companies to lower their carbon emissions.

COAC is a marketing cooperative that provides a framework for owners of heavy equipment and trucks to reduce operating costs and create, aggregate and sell carbon offsets that are produced through a reduction in diesel consumption.

The funding is essential seed money that will help COAC provide more members with low-interest loans to retrofit their heavy duty diesel trucks and equipment to increase fuel efficiency, save money and reduce carbon emissions. Currently, 33 units (trucks and equipment) have been retrofitted. Installation has been completed on the first truck fleet of six units and COAC expects to install another 24 in the near future.

This funding is expected to provide financing to retrofit 100 units per month, resulting in emission reductions of approximately 13,400 tonnes over the first three years. With every 1,000 litres of diesel saved, approximately three tonnes of carbon dioxide will be diverted from the atmosphere. One truck operating for 250 days a year can use up to 300 litres per day and will emit approximately 200 tonnes of carbon annually.

The cooperative provides financing to member businesses for modifications of existing vehicles and machinery that use fossil fuels (diesel). Operators will also receive driver-awareness training that will lead to even more energy efficiencies and GHG reductions that will save them money.

To learn about the first company to participate in the COAC program, visit: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/ourprogress/b-c-heavy-equipment-company-goes-green/

These reductions in fuel consumption and GHGs emitted will produce carbon offsets, which are then aggregated and sold, transferred or traded by COAC. The proceeds of the sales are returned to the member as a dividend. The offsets are sold as made-in-B.C. greenhouse gas offsets.

This is part of a suite of B.C. Clean Transportation programs and follows on the heels of the Clean Energy Vehicle Program and BC SCRAP-IT funding, which the Province announced in November 2011.


Terry Lake, Minister of Environment:

This co-op demonstrates that being environmentally responsible can save companies money. It also shows how our Climate Action Plan benefits rural communities by helping business owners save money, reduce emissions and participate in a program that benefits B.C. families and helps create jobs.

Shirley Bond, MLA Prince George-Valemount:

This made-in-the-North program will reduce emissions and help heavy-duty vehicle operators increase their fuel efficiency. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to create this unique program.

Pat Bell, MLA Prince George-Mackenzie:

COAC is showing some real innovation with this program, and it shows how British Columbia is a leader in developing innovative solutions to lower GHG emissions.

Mary Anne Arcand, COAC chair:

This kind of support from government sends a clear signal that it is serious about addressing climate change, and supportive of industry’s initiative to be innovative and engaged at the ground level.

COAC member representative Doug Pugh:

Having the funding to help smaller operators like me get on the program makes it possible for everybody to do their part in reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Quick Facts:

  • COAC currently represents 25 member companies provincewide.
  • Collectively, the companies consume more than 58-million litres of diesel annually.
  • The program helps business owners overcome the technological and financial barriers to making carbon-reduction changes to their operations.
  • The purpose is to provide a fuel-efficiency and carbon-reduction program for owners of heavy equipment and long- and short-haul trucks to reduce operating costs, aggregate and transfer, trade or sell carbon offsets.
  • COAC expects the average savings from these measures to range from 10 to 15 per cent annually.

Learn More:

BC Newsroom – Ministry of Environment: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/environment-1/

Carbon Offset Aggregation Cooperative (COAC): www.carbonoffsetcooperative.org


Suntanu Dalal
Communications Officer
Ministry of Environment
250 387-9745


Heyman sees budget as threat to water:

Eliminating regulations for B.C.’s expanding mining projects will jeopardize water and wildlife and lead to increased community concern and conflict, Sierra Club BC Executive Director George Heyman warned today following the B.C. budget.

“British Columbians are increasingly concerned about secure access to clean water, but this budget fast-tracks mining projects while cutting regulatory provisions that clearly exist to protect the public interest,” said Heyman. “There is no vision here for a sustainable economy that protects our environmental assets; instead we have more raw resource extraction with reduced public interest protection.”

Government’s public affairs bureau budget – at $26 million – is now three times as big as the budget for B.C.’s environmental assessment office, which has been frozen at $8.75 million despite a significant leap in proposed mining and energy projects.

“There appears to be plenty of money for the government to spin its message, but no increased funding for environmental assessment.  New mine proposals around the province, and the environmentally questionable practice of natural gas fracking, cry out for strong measures that guarantee public and community health,” said Heyman.

“The government will spend $24 million in reducing the turnaround time for mineral exploration permits, but not a penny more to ensure robust environmental assessment capacity,” Heyman said. “With the Fish Lake debacle, we saw B.C.’s environmental assessment process green-light a mine that was later scathingly rejected by the federal environment minister. And now the B.C. government wants to make it even easier for mining companies to engage in controversial road-building and drilling that will only lead to community conflict and economic uncertainty around the province.”


Vancouver Sun on City’s Firing of Planning Director Brent Toderian


Read this story from Jeff Lee of The Vancouver Sun on the firing of the City of Vancouver’s director of planning, Brent Toderian. (Jan 31, 2012)

This morning Frances Bula, the former Vancouver Sun reporter who now freelances for The Globe and Mail, used anonymous sources to break the story of Toderian’s firing.

Council has since ratified Toderian’s termination, and everyone from Mayor Gregor Robertson and Ballem on down are being nice in how they describe what can only be described as a major change, both for Toderian and for the city. (See Ballem’s internal memo and the public statement below.)

Toderian told me in a telephone conversation that he was surprised by his firing and that it was done “without cause”. That precludes a wrongful dismissal suit, but it also preserves his much-valued integrity because his termination comes down to a difference of opinion, rather than a messy split. It has cost the city plenty: at least one year’s salary at more than $200,000.

As can be expected, people have weighed in on all sides about what caused his departure and what it means in the long term.

Toderian is brash, hard-nosed and ambitious. That style created among some developers, architects and community groups. But that Type-A personality was also in direct conflict with at least one other similar personality, that of Ballem, who has consolidated decision-making under her reign.

Read more: http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2012/01/31/brent-toderian-fired-as-vancouvers-director-of-planning/

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford: Public Transit Enemy #1 (photo: blogto.com)

Bracing For a Transit Fight in Toronto


This week’s humiliating budget defeat for Toronto mayor Rob Ford, which reversed $20 million in proposed spending cuts, has put new wind in the sails of those fighting to see improved transit services in Canada’s largest city.

On his first day in office, Mayor Ford fulfilled a campaign promise by announcing his intention to cancel the Transit City project, a plan proposed by former Mayor David Miller and the Toronto Transit Commission in 2007 that focused on improving service to the city’s woefully underserved suburbs. Among other initiatives, Transit City called for the construction of new rapid light rail lines connecting seven areas of the city, as well as new rapid bus transit lines. Upon cancelling the project in December 2010, Mayor Ford announced that the “war on the car” was over. Claiming that light rail transit (LRT) on roadways is a bad idea, he instead proposed an expansion of the existing Toronto subway system, a plan that would serve fewer residents at a much higher cost.

So just what is this transit dust-up all about and why should anyone outside of Toronto even care?

Well, for starters Toronto’s squabbles are emblematic of the transit challenges facing other Canadian cities, such as Vancouver and Calgary, whose populations are growing at rapid rates. The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) is expected to grow by more than one million residents during the next 10 years. These people will need to get to get around somehow. Yet a recent study found that Torontonians suffer the second worst traffic-related stress of 20 international cities. Toronto’s roads and highways are the most congested in North America and, at 80 minutes, their drivers endure the longest average commute times. As anyone who drives Vancouver’s roads will attest, drivers there do not fare much better. The average commute is now 67 minutes and the situation is getting worse as more and more residents seek cheaper housing prices farther from the city centre.

What is particularly interesting about the Toronto transit squabble is how Mayor Ford has managed, inadvertently, to galvanize the many groups lobbying for better transit in the GTA. By opting for a “my way or the highway” approach to transit, he brazenly picked a fight that he might well lose. Although Transit City certainly had its shortcomings, Ford’s subway plan just doesn’t make sense on so many levels.

For starters, subway lines cost, on average, 3 to 6 times more than LRT lines. Ford’s plan to build an eight-kilometer stretch of subway is estimated to cost around $400-million per kilometer (including new stations). In contrast, building LRT along the same stretch would cost about $90-million per kilometer. And instead of at least 3 new LRT lines, Toronto residents would see one, shorter subway line that would still leave much of the city’s suburban areas underserved. So for these unlucky folks, Ford planned to provide more buses (at a higher cost and lower reliability that LRT). $1.3 billion was committed to Transit City and $137 million of that amount has already been spent. Construction is already underway on one LRT line and there are expected to be millions of dollars in cancellation fees for the various contracts already tendered. All this from a mayor who ostensibly purports to be a deficit slayer.

Ford’s plan just seemed like “an obviously wrong decision to many people,” Joe Drew of Save Transit City and CodeRedTO.com told me. “When you see a plan that was going to expand rapid transit to a significant part of the community be killed for capricious reasons, it becomes important to many people to fix this.” And fix it they are, much to Mayor Ford’s chagrin. Many groups including TTC Riders, the Toronto Environmental Alliance and others have rallied around the campaign to save Transit City or, at the very least, to oppose Ford’s plan to kill it and replace it with a nonsensical new subway line.

“Even for those city councilors who don’t care about transit, they do care about taxpayers money,” says Drew.  That’s why Toronto’s previous city council chose LRT as the foundation of its plan — because hands down it provides the best value for money.
As for the legitimate concerns about Transit City’s impacts on traffic, Drew says his organization is not calling for a full reinstatement of the original plan as it was. “What we are saying is that Ford’s plan is even worse so maybe we can build a plan that is better than both current options. There is room for compromise and consensus on this. It is not a matter of one plan or the other.”

Now that Mayor Ford has been humbled by his recent budget defeat, perhaps he will be more willing to listen to his detractors. After all, Ford can’t spend the city’s money without the approval of city council. Drew says this is all likely to come to a head over the next month or so when a request for further funding for Ford’s subway proposal comes to council. Buoyed by their budget victory, many councilors are likely to be even more skeptical of the mayor’s proposal.

As for other cities watching this debacle from the sidelines, we can all thank Toronto for providing us with a textbook lesson in how not to deal with transit planning in Canada’s growing urban centres.

Officers from the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office display their unmanned aerial vehicle, the Shadowhawk, in Spring, Texas, in September

US-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council Plan’s Orwellian Transportation Pact


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the second of three articles by Nelle Maxey examining the wide-ranging ramifications for the Canadian public, economy and environment of the new Canada-US Border Security Deal and its ancillary agreements.

With my first article on this topic I set the background for Canada’s new trade deal with the US and discussed the Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) and its Joint Action Plan for cooperation in the Energy & Environment trade sector. This installment will look at the Transportation sector as discussed in the RCC Action Plan and the poison pills therein. Remember, “a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”.

The Joint Action Plan divides transportation into three modes of travel: land (vehicle and rail), marine travel and air travel. To facilitate cross-border trade, the land section will align both vehicle and rail safety regulations, the marine section will align recreational boat building and life jacket standards and the final section will align transport of dangerous goods regulations. So that’s the sugar. The medicine is as follows.

On page 18 of the RCC Plan this clause is found in the land travel initiatives: “Work together on the development of regulations and standards to fully support the integration of intelligent transportation systems.”

The benefits of this initiative are listed on the same page as follows: “Coordinated standards for intelligent transportation systems will promote the seamless development of tomorrow’s vehicle technologies and infrastructure and allow the two countries to be global leaders in this area.”

Turning to wikipedia for a definition of “intelligent transportation systems”, you find the following:

The term intelligent transportation systems (ITS) refers to information and communication technology (applied to transport infrastructure and vehicles) that improve transport outcomes[1] such as transport safety, transport productivity, travel reliability, informed travel choices, social equity, environmental performance and network operation resilience.

That sounds laudable enough – until you read the next section titled Background:

Recent governmental activity in the area of ITS – specifically in the United States – is further motivated by an increasing focus on homeland security. Many of the proposed ITS systems also involve surveillance of the roadways, which is a priority of homeland security.[2] Funding of many systems comes either directly through homeland security organizations or with their approval…Much of the infrastructure and planning involved with ITS parallels the need for homeland security systems.

Since it is the US with whom we are “harmonizing”, a bit different spin on ITS emerges. Reading further in the wiki article you can find out about RFID chips, CTV cameras,  “floating” vehicle GPS data and “floating” cell phone data and how these data sources are tapped into by these “intelligent” systems. I can only suggest that a better name for these systems might be intelligence systems. Is this really how you want your tax dollars spent? All under the guise of traffic control and traffic safety?

Unfortunately, it gets worse. The RCC Plan’s marine travel section reads:

Align the marine transportation security requirements to prevent duplication of services and remove impediments to cross-border operations and incorporate the ability to use alternative security arrangements in the Canadian regulations.

So cross-border security operations will have no impediments? I can only suppose this means we will see more presence of American enforcers in Canadian waters. The phrase “alternative security arrangements” is undefined in the document; so this remains food for thought and investigation. Although the following section may provide more clues as to where things are headed.

The air travel section is much more explicit. Here is the initiative from page 20 of the RCC Joint Action Plan:

Establish a mechanism to share experiences on regulations related to unmanned aircraft systems, with a view to aligning regulatory approaches. (emphasis added)

The benefits of this initiative are stated on the same page as follows:

Aligning Canadian and U.S. requirements for unmanned aircraft systems would allow both countries to gain safe and routine access to airspace without restricting other airspace users.

So, apparently opening up Canadian airspace to drones is now a priority and we must draft regulations for this. Or perhaps as this American news broadcast explains, we will just be adopting the US FAA regulations which are now being drafted “to allow unarmed drones to fly up to 400 feet above the ground”?

The discussion on page 19 in the Joint Action Plan says:

…for unmanned aircraft systems—aircraft weighing less than 35 kg [77lbs] used for flight testing, aerial photography, filming for television documentaries, or offshore geophysical surveys. Canada and the U.S. can jointly undertake to develop and adopt common standards for unmanned aircraft systems and establish a mechanism to share regulatory experiences, with a view to aligning regulatory approaches.

Oh, well, you think – this is just about little drones used for benign aerial photography. Watch this January, 2010, news video out of Houston,Texas to see the 40-pound drone being tested for us by local police and to hear the police chief’s comments on its possible uses.

More recently, on December 11th, an article was posted by the LA Times on police use of drones in North Dakota which belonged to US Customs and Border Protection to chase down rustlers of 6 cows. This article was followed two days later by an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “The Law’s New Eye in the Sky: Police Departments’ Use of Drones Is Raising Concerns Over Privacy and Safety”.

The article begins:

Drones, the remote-controlled aircraft used in combat zones, are now hovering over some U.S. cities as police enlist them to get a bird’s-eye view of crime scenes and accidents at relatively low expense.

But as financially strapped municipalities add drones to their crime-fighting arsenal, they are facing increasing questions about the vehicles’ safety, as well as their potential to violate citizens’ privacy.

The story was accompanied by the photograph shown at the top of this article.

Considering that the Border Security deal not only appears to allow American agency operations on Canadian soil and does allow the transfer of data from said agencies, I can only ask: Is this what you want to see in Canada? Best contact your MP about these proposals.

Nelle Maxey is a grandmother who lives in the beautiful Slocan Valley
in south-eastern BC. She believes it is her obligation as a citizen to
concern herself with the policies and politics of government at the
federal, provincial and local level.


Retired NHL Star Scott Niedermayer Comes out Against Contorverisal Jumbo Resort Plan in the Kootenays


Read this story from BCLocalNews.com on retired NHL star Scott Niedermayer’s support of the campaign to stop the controversial Jumbo-Glacier Resort in the Kootenays.

VICTORIA – Opponents of the long-proposed Jumbo Glacier Resort near
Cranbrook went on the offensive in the B.C. legislature Tuesday, with
retired hockey star Scott Niedermayer joining a local aboriginal group
to press for its rejection. Niedermayer joined Kathryn Teneese, chair of the
Ktunaxa Nation council and NDP leader Adrian Dix to urge the B.C.
government to reject the proposed resort, on Jumbo glacier in the Purcell Mountains.

The project has been studied for more than 20 years,
and received a provincial environmental certificate in 2005. The last
step is approval of a master development agreement, which Forests, Lands
and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson could make at
any time. Teneese showed a video with testimonials of aboriginal
and other local residents, and released a study by Simon Fraser
University economist Marvin Shaffer that questions the economic
viability of adding another ski resort to the region.” (Dec. 8, 2011)

Read full article: http://www.bclocalnews.com/news/133922293.html?fb_ref=sidebarActivityFeed

A representation of Port Metro's Planned second terminal at Deltaport

Prominent Fish Biologist Questions Port Metro’s Expansion Plans


The following is a letter from retired senior Department of Fisheries and Oceans biologist and manager Otto Langer to Port Metro Vancouver’s Sustainability Director:

Dear Mr. Desjardin – Sustainability Director – Port Metro Vancouver:

As someone that has spent 42 years of my life protecting the Fraser River Estuary I find the Port Metro Vancouver’s latest phase of its upgrading of the Roberts Bank Port facilities including the transportation infrastructure to be of great concern and is again another setback in protecting this globally significant estuary. Continued development in the Roberts Bank area and on the bank itself will reduce options for future generations to benefit from our natural environment and will again degrade the habitats of vast populations of fish, wildlife and harm public recreation and livability. Further much of the new development is dependent on encroachment on some of the best farmland in Canada and that is yet another nail in the coffin in our ability to protect our base to grow food near this large metropolitan area.

The original development of the Roberts Bank Facility in the late 1960’s was one of the greatest impacts that the Fraser River Estuary has ever suffered since the construction of the many dykes around the estuary in earlier times and after the 1948 flood. That dyke building destroyed vast habitat areas and cut off much of the estuary from what was a large and extremely productive ecosystem.

We are only now protecting a small part of the original estuary and any new development will have an incrementally larger toll on estuary health and survival. Expansion of the port facility a few years to increase coal exports and then container facilities has allowed this port facility to extend across this unique and highly productive mudflat and marsh estuarine complex like a cancer. This present proposal is not a major development but it helps set the stage for major new expansion just over the horizon.

For the concerned public to now have to face and comment on yet another round of industrial expansion is truly unfortunate especially when one considers the a state of world economic uncertainties and a present myopic drive to increase an overly exploitative phase of resource development and the export of as many raw resources as possible and then import most of our manufactured goods. The port planning seems to see no limits to future development and that should be of concern to anyone concerned about our future and quality of life.

It appears the port authority has not learned much from our history and is ignoring all signs that indicate that we must pay more attention to the issues of sustainability and respond to global warming and generally our over exploitation of the earth’s resources. I see none of that thinking in this new phase of development at Roberts Bank. The PMV seems to show little insight as related to the global picture of over development as it relates to our sustainable future as dependent on a clean and healthy environment and the protection of the limited but extremely valuable farmlands we find in this area.  The Port again seems to be driven by a development at any cost agenda and again the overall development by PMV in the estuary has to be put into its proper temporal and estuarine ecosystem context. This project is just one small impact as supported or promoted by PMV.

The above statement is not made without any foundation. The recent comments by the PMV CEO ( Mr. Silvester) in BC Business hi-lites the indifference and insensitivity and the total lack of understanding of the value of the natural environment and our agricultural land in the Lower Fraser Valley. My response to Mr. Silvester’s recent comments are attached. It is unfortunate that his comments seem to symbolize what PMV stands for and that is definitely not for future sustainability. It is indeed rather odd that Port Metro Vancouver would even have a position on staff that they call Director of ‘Sustainable Development’. Maybe that has to be defined because the Port concept of sustainability seems to leave out many aspects of the social and environmental legs of the sustainability stool. Maybe it is sustained industrial development that PMV is dedicated to.

What is most disturbing about any development at Roberts Bank is the disjointed approach PMV is taking in this new development phase at that site and indeed in the entire estuary. To make matters worse, why in earth would the Federal Government have delegated any environmental review / screening delegation under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) to a port agency that is the developer that will gain financially from this development i.e. why and how can we get a proper unbiased environmental assessment when it is abundantly clear that PMV’s pro-development stance and mandate puts the Port in a total conflict of interest?

As part of the above and key to this review is the PMV ambush style of public consultation. I am informed that a few months ago Nature Vancouver invited PMV to appear at their October meeting to outline PMV expansion plans at Roberts Bank. PMV spokesperson agreed to appear some three months ago but two weeks before the event PMV backed out of the event saying their plans were not ready for public discussion. However, at about the same time the Port then listed this project for public comments and have given the public only two weeks time to respond to the planned development.

This approach should be embarrassing to any Port staff that have environmental, social sustainability or public consultation responsibilities.  This is totally unacceptable and it appears that PMV have not learned from the less than stellar environmental review PMV is conducting in harmony with the BC Environmental Assessment Office in the VAFFC Jet Fuel Delivery Proposal to ship jet fuel into the Fraser River Estuary.  In that review the PMV joint review only allowed the public 2 minutes of speaker time at the ‘public hearing’ last spring and limited written public input to a very short time period.

After protests by the public and local government, the comment period was expanded another two weeks. Despite an expedited process that was to be done about now, the public is left in the dark as to what has happened and above all doubt the sincerity and adequacy of that partnership review. Also in that project the Port is conducting the review with a more junior level of government. This is not proper when the issues related to the port, airport, fishery, navigation, wildlife, shipping, etc are all federal responsibilities. How can we trust a PMV environment assessment of any sort?

I do not know how PMV can with any degree of conscience believe they can conduct an impartial environmental review / screening process. The public and certain local governments including the City of Richmond have strongly stated that PMV cannot do environmental assessments when they benefit from the approval of the project.  Accordingly a group that is examining the joint BC EAO and PMV review of the VAFFC Jet Fuel Delivery Project has launched a petition to the Environmental Commissioner of the OAG of Canada to raise the issue of PMV’s obvious conflict of interest (attachment). This jet fuel project is very relevant in that that the conflict of interest noted in that project also is relevant here. The PMV is the wolf in charge of the sheep and that can mean the continued environmental degradation and eventual destruction of the Roberts Bank and other parts of the Fraser River Estuary.

The container and transport project now being screened is just the tip of the ice berg as related to Roberts Band port expansion. To review this part of the project in isolation of any work on the bank proper (Terminal 2) is akin to getting your foot in the door – again. This is not an acceptable review procedure in that it is obviously piecemeal and does not address the cumulative impacts of all development planned at this port facility, including the Gateway Highway Project,  as is required by the intent and spirit of the cumulative impacts provisions of CEAA. Further an environmental ‘screening’ is the lowest level of CEAA review and considering that the future of what is left of Roberts Bank natural environment and considering the impacts on the adjacent communities a higher level review (i.e.  a full Public Panel Review) is necessary.

I strongly recommend that PMV go back to square one and develop a complete proposal and an objective business case for significant expansion at this time in the face of port tonnage handled in the recent past, a realistic projection of increased port needs and relate that to the significant port development at Prince Rupert that will compete with this port. Also an objective review of the conservation future of this part of the estuary is long overdue.  Once these issues have been addressed, only then can the Federal Government, through a higher level FEARO Public Panel Review, do an objective environmental assessment that we can trust.

To date PMV has caused catastrophic damage to Roberts Bank habitats and fish and wildlife populations. Many of these populations are global in nature and truly unique and are under great pressure from past development. Further PMV has not shown that it has significantly mitigated the impacts from past development on Roberts Bank including the massive loss of habitat due to massive filling, fuel and coal dust spills, killing of wildlife by inappropriate power lines over the water directly in the paths of migratory bird populations and in the blocking of natural ocean currents, sediment transport and fish movements by the causeway.

To propose more development when past impacts have not been addressed is a way of saying that we will continue to develop regardless of environmental or agricultural or resident concerns and as we do more damage to new areas we will promise to mitigate the damage of the past. This is wishful thinking and a line must be drawn on the map because what has taken place in past development is well beyond the concept of what is sustainable development at that key estuarine habitat area.

In summary:

  • The Roberts Bank Port development as started in the late 1960s has caused catastrophic impacts on Roberts Bank natural processes, habitat and fish and wildlife populations. To date, these impacts have not been properly mitigated.
  • This environmental screening review of improved transport infrastructure at Roberts Bank Port Terminal is out of context with what is next planned and a proper review of what is planned for this area must be addressed as a comprehensive review of a complete package.
  • A proper review that can best address the intent of CEAA must be much
    more comprehensive and done at a higher level (i.e. Public Panel Review)
    and include all planned development at Roberts Bank Port to address
    perceived needs up to 2030. Anything less than this is a piecemeal short
    term review and undermines the cumulative impacts intent of CEAA and
    the public trust.
  • The stated opinions of the Port CEO in the press are bound to affect the
    thinking of all working staff at PMV including those on any
    environmental assessments conducted by PMV. Allowing an agency with a
    gross insensitivity to farmland and natural world values is bound to be
    not trusted by an informed public and that is not in the interest of the
    estuary, its life and federal responsibilities.
  • PMV is in an obvious conflict of interest due to their gain if the
    project is approved and this undermines an objective and unbiased review
    and greatly lowers public trust and the possibility of maintaining
    natural values on the remaining  and undeveloped portions of Roberts
    Bank and its backup lands.
  • The Federal and BC environmental agencies must draw a line on the map as
    to what government is willing and must protect in this valuable and
    essential part of the Fraser River Estuary. Continued piecemeal losses
    associated with an improvement of infrastructure such as this project
    must be put into context of what PMV has planned for this port site.
  • The environmental screening as applied to this project by PMV as per
    CEAA is inadequate especially as related to how the public was informed
    and the extremely short time given to evaluate and comment on what is
    indeed taking place and about what is to next take place considering
    known PMV expansion plans and attitudes stated for natural values in the
    Roberts Bank area.
  • PMV does not seem to appreciate that the Fraser River Estuary, including
    the Roberts Bank area, is an estuary of international significance and
    is one of handful of estuaries of global significance on the West Coast
    of the Americas. This alone requires an attitude of greater insight into
    how that legacy must be protected.
  • The PMV should withdraw from a leading any environmental review when
    they are the primary developer and beneficiary of the approved project.
    The Federal Government must re-evaluate why and how this terrible
    arrangement was ever allowed under CEAA. This bad precedent is now
    taking place in several projects in the Fraser River Estuary and it now
    appears that the estuary is simply treated as a port that is
    unfortunately entering a new era of industrialization. This will
    incrementally harm a very rare and unique Pacific Coast natural
    environment and promote the continued loss of some of our best

 Sincerely yours,

Otto E. Langer MSc

Fishery Biologist and Aquatic Ecologist

Richmond, BC.