Whether it is about coal ports, jet fuel terminals, use of farmland or a host of other issues, there is widespread regional frustration with how the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority makes decisions. Our Port should be transparent in its decision making and accountable to the public. It should do a better job of engaging local governments and incorporating regional concerns and environmental considerations into its project approval processes.
As Steveston-Richmond East MP Joe Peschisolido recently made clear, our new government in Ottawa is aware of public concern about Port Authority decision making and is considering changes to how our Ports operate.
We need to make sure the Trudeau government takes decisive action on Port Authority reform. Can you take a few minutes to send a comment to key decision makers to call for change? Use the the form at right to send your comments to Marc Garneau, the Federal Transport Minister (in charge of Ports). We’ll make sure your comments are copied to the PM, local MPs and local governments.
Here are some key concerns to raise:
- Foremost, any changes to Port Authority governance should involve open consultation with local and regional governments, First Nations, organizations advocating for Port reform, and the concerned public;
- Port Authority governance should better reflect regional concerns. Port Authority boards of directors should have increased representation of First Nation, environmental and health expert, and local and regional government interests;
- Port Authorities are mandated with regulating port operations and approving industrial development proposals while also promoting and increasing economic activity. The federal government must ensure proper oversight of Port Authorities so that there are no conflicts — or perceived conflicts — between these mandates;
- As Ottawa follows through on its commitment to reform the environmental assessment process, it should carefully consider if it is in the public interest for Port Authorities to be evaluating the environmental impact of proposed projects on federal Port lands while also working to promote trade and economic development;
- All lands under Port Authority control should remain public lands;
- Transparency and accountability in Port operations should be improved. Port Authorities should be made subject to the federal Lobbying Act and should remain subject to the Access to Information Act.