Key concerns: Port Authority governance, public consultation and decision making
This page will be updated shortly with an overview of critiques of Vancouver Fraser Port Authority decision making. In the meantime, here some news articles and opinion pieces that provide background on concerns regional groups and politicians have about the way the Port does business.
Scroll down to see the tidal wave of bad news for the Port Authority in April 2016!
What he was presenting is not an open avenue for reasoned discussion but a declaration of war on farmland.
— Richmond Councillor Harold Steves speaking of Port CEO Robin Silvester, “Port’s hunger for farmland a ‘declaration of war’ ” Richmond News January 2012
As we’ve seen many times in the past, Port Metro Vancouver has long preferred “beg forgiveness” over “ask permission” when it comes to how its activities will affect the communities around them.
— Port In A Storm, editorial by North Shore News, February 2013
If you own an apartment and you’re the landlord, the provincial government says the most you can raise your rent is like three per cent, and yet I’m a tenant, and they want to raise my rent 300 per cent.
We must have open and democratic decision-making about the environmental impacts and costs—including climate change—associated with our development decisions.
— BC MLA’s David Eby and George Heyman, Environmental impact assessments are key for a better future. guest editorial, Georgia Straight April 2013
They have too much power, too much independence, and they simply have to be reigned in.
— Independent MLA for Delta Vicki Huntington, “Port Metro Vancouver is Going Rogue: Huntington” News 1130 June 2013
The port also adopted a narrow construction of its environmental authority. Port spokespersons regularly state that their mandate is only to facilitate trade, without acknowledging their equally important mandate “to operate with broad public support in the best interests of Canadians.” The Canada Marine Act, which governs port operations, identifies both promotion of trade and provision of a high level of safety and environmental protection as equal goals.
— Kathryn Harrison, Professor of Political Science, UBC, Reform needed before expanding coal shipments, guest editorial, Vancouver Sun June 2013
changes to the Canada Marine Act … adopted in 2014… pose a serious threat to legal protection from environmental threats and public oversight of activities that occur in ports.
— Andrew Gage, staff council, West Coast Environmental Law blog post Déjà vu – again? Another omnibus budget bill, more federal environmental law rollbacks WCEL December 2014
the port has become unresponsive to community concerns since the Stephen Harper government granted near-autonomous powers in 2008.
— Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido, “Peschisolido: Port of Vancouver must adjust to changed government in Ottawa” Vancouver Sun April 2016
They do their own reviews, issue permits, and then collect the revenue because some of the developments are on their own land. Nowhere else in the world would you say that’s an acceptable way to do business. It’s a total financial conflict of interest.
— retired DFO fisheries scientist Otto Langer, “Port of Vancouver’s jet-fuel pipeline approval surprises minister” Vancouver Sun April 2016
Their consultation process was a sham. We talked to other people who didn’t hear. I don’t know who knows about it. It’s all been so covert
— Barb Daniel, president of Four Sisters Housing “Ports Public Process a Sham: Four Sisters Co-op” Vancouver Sun April 2016
If you’re going to be a member of some other organization or alliance and you approve the projects that are related to that membership, it puts into question the fairness of the decision-making process and leads one to question whether or not they’re biased — whether or not things are predetermined
— Paula Williams, founder of Surrey Based Communities and Coal “Vancouver Port Regulator Under Conflict of Interest Fire Over Coal Lobby Membership” DeSmogBlog April 2016