April 1, 2019

Expansion Back On? It’s Bait & Switch “Big Berth” Time at Deltaport


It’s not over until it’s over and Peter Ladner has forwarded this article from Business in Vancouver reporting that GCT Canada Limited (that’s Global Container Terminals) wants the Federal Court to make a decision regarding plans to grow container cargo handling capacity at Deltaport.

As I have previously written “Environment and Climate Change Canada’s statement to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency clearly outlined the catastrophic impact of a new terminal eradicating this sandpiper feeding area…  finally, Environment Canada has come out with a definitive statement that should stop this project in its tracks.” 

That 2 to 3 billion dollar Terminal 2 would also mean creating a reclaimed paved over industrial island of 108 hectares (266 acres) west of the existing Deltaport, supposedly in water deep enough not to impact the sensitive migratory bird and intertidal habitat.

So the good news was that Global Container Terminal who leases the docks from Deltaport had stated that the Terminal 2 complex proposed at Roberts Bank was “outmoded and no longer viable.” But of course GCT has  now dropped their new manifesto, and you can kind of see where they are going in the following  words:

“It is GCT’s view that the long-term sustainability of our gateway is only achievable through careful terminal design that reflects a modern, innovative, and a more sustainable approach to planning and constructing such an expansion.”

What that means is they want to EXPAND their existing facility and add a fourth container berth, arguing that “the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority rejected the company’s request to process its preliminary project inquiry to add a fourth container berth at GCT Deltaport (DP4) because the port authority is biased in favour of Terminal 2″. This was actually  previously rejected by the port  because the required creation of 55 hectares (138 acres) of  “fake island” industrial land  needed would annihilate the sensitive migratory habitat in the intertidal zone.

There are some deep pockets involved to take on the port authority. Reporter Timothy Renshaw also observes that the second shoe drops with the GTC wanting to stop a May 14 public hearing on the port’s Terminal 2 project, ostensibly because the “Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has failed to provide the information required to justify Terminal 2 and is pursuing the project based on flawed data and a biased rationale.”

You can take a look at Timothy Renshaw’s article talking about the economics of container traffic and the logistics. Of course GCT was also displeased when the Port nixed their fourth berth earlier because of the significant monopoly this one company would have for all container traffic.

Is GCT legally tying up the decision-making  process of Terminal 2  while at the same time pushing back for a new “Big Berth” on their existing facility?  How long will all this take, and to what outcome?

deltaport-cntImages: Skyscrapercity & Cbc.ca

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  1. Both tidal flats for migratory birds AND industrial (or residential) expansion need to co-exist.

    Vancouver and area has room to grow west of Surrey, Delta AND Richmond, and south into Boundary Bay.

    All options ought to be considered for housing, industrial development, recreation, agricultural, commercial AND environmental expansion in a sustainable way.

    Many urban areas around the world expand into the often vast river or ocean flats that surround them, why not Vancouver & area ?

      1. MetroVan will be home to 5M+ people in less than 50 years. It is also THE major port region for all of Canada as all roads, pipelines and railways end/begin here. Of course changed land use including land expansion ought to be discussed on an ONGOING BASIS as needs, consumer preferences, technologies, immigration or industrial patterns shift.

        That debate is utterly missing. We can’t just dismiss it with simplistic attitudes of “it is unsustainable” or “we have earthquakes” or “there is enough land” or “don’t build more roads” or “Don’t touch the ALR” or “no more bridges” or “no more pipelines” !!

        It needs a far more holistic approach. Which task force does this today ?

        1. You said, “…in a sustainable way”.

          Degrading a fragile ecosystem and putting struggling species at risk of extinction is not sustainable. Certainly we can discuss other options and other areas for growth. As you always point out, BC is vast VAST !

          V-A-S-T !!

          Suddenly to don’t sound convinced of that.


          No more pipelines! Period.

          Reducing fossil fuel use while expanding fossil fuel infrastructure is not logical. It’s one or the other and it has to be the former. The forest fire season has already begun and it’s the beginning of April. Give your head a good shake, Beyer. More pipelines is the polar opposite of holistic.


          Don’t touch the ALR either. We’re already way more sprawly than what is good for us. There’s no need.

          1. Uh, Beyer. Venice is so under water that much of the ground floors are no longer habitable. Tourists have to slosh around in gum boots. That’s the future you aspire to? Awesome! Why not just go wading and save us all from your hair-brained schemes? They’re not even absurdly amusing any more. Just childish. That’s why not.

            There is nothing green about the federal Liberals. Canada remains a pathetic laggard on GHGs. A global embarrassment. Happy?

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