January 24, 2007


On Thursday, Council will be discussing this report from the Vancouver Economic Development Commission:
VEDC Gateway Strategy
I did a quick search, wondering how many times these terms came up:

climate change, greenhouse gases, sea-level rise

The answer: zero.
How much discussion about the impact of freighters (the largest point source of some pollutants) on air quality.
Or the impact on agricultural lands of expanding port facilities.
I appreciate that there are many points of view on Gateway, the need for port expansion, and the economic opportunities for Vancouver as the Asian entrance to North America.  But how can an organization charged with strategic thinking and the health of this city and region have no viewpoint on the issues which will determine the fundamental livability, viability and even the existence of parts of this region, not to mention port operations?
In the not-too-distant future, that will seem to be not just oblivious but irresponsible.

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  1. Probably outside the scope (and funding) of this report – here’s an excerpt from page 3 of the report, which references the broader principles of sustainability and balancing social,
    environmental and economic considerations WITHIN WHICH the recommendations proposed by the report will be implemented:
    In July 2006, Vancouver City Council approved six guiding
    principles for economic development that provide strategic
    direction to the City, and guide city planning and decision making
    about economic priorities and strategies. The principles state that
    Vancouver will:
    Establish a competitive business climate that puts the city
    ahead of competitor jurisdictions;
    Identify, grow and build world-class export-oriented industry
    clusters that contribute to a diverse and resilient economy;
    Make investments in infrastructure that are strategic,
    sustainable, and focused to deliver economic returns to the city;
    Maintain a high quality of life that attracts and retains skilled
    and talented workers required to drive the city’s economy;
    Provide regional leadership for economic development;
    Be a global leader in sustainability practices, balancing social,
    environmental and economic considerations for the benefit of
    both residents and businesses.
    VEDC is presenting this discussion paper to City Council, together
    with nine recommendations in the context of these Guiding
    Principles. In short, the Pacific Gateway concept advances
    Vancouver’s economy in ways that are consistent with the
    Guiding Principles.

  2. On a related note there was an article in the Vacouver Sun, maybe yesteday, about how its too expensive (for the Port and for the cruise lines) to install infrastructure and for the cost of electricity for the cruise ships to plug into the local electrical grid when in port (instead of continuing to run their diesel engine generators). Apparently cruise ships plug-in in Seattle and other ports – can’t recall which – maybe Miami. Not sure if the same applies to freighters loading in port.