Cooperating ports—good for Western Canada and all

Richmond Council has called on Transport Canada to replace the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, VFPA or “Port of Vancouver,” with a new Western Canada Port Agency, WCPA. That’s in Richmond’s response to the ministry’s Ports Modernization Review.

WCPA is a new name for a visionary concept associated with former minister David Emerson (over a decade ago) and revived by Joe Peschisolido, a current Richmond MP. For most of a decade, Robin Silvester has been CEO of VFPA. It’s viewed as an oligarchy, and he suits its aims, but it lacks the cooperative-service priority of the WCPA vision.

Along with support for WCPA, Richmond Council’s input includes many concerns and imperatives for consulting with local government, ending conflicts of interest such as VFPA’s “environmental assessments” of itself, and respecting ALR land, not buying it for industrial use. (Details in Nov 26 Richmond Council agenda and in the minutes soon.)

The Ports Modernization Review deadline is Monday, Dec 3. Since it’s urgent, Fraser Voices has put much thought into a fillable input form so you can mold your views if need be and send them in right away. Choose Word version or PDF version.

And if you’re not sure why reform is needed, see this highly informed list of concerns.

The input form includes a simple means (5 seconds) to help MP Joe Peschisolido and his Marine Ports Caucus show the need to add ROUNDTABLES for Ports Review stakeholders after Dec. 3. The intent is that the roundtables will bring together local politicians, environmentalists, business people and other active citizens in dialogue that will help the Transport Canada review to modernize the Western Canada port system. If you may wish to take part, be sure to send in the form with the ROUNDTABLE checkbox checked.

Richmond will send its Ports Modernization Review report to other Metro Vancouver councils, but other councils’ members may receive it too late to use it before Dec 3. If you are a council member in Metro Vancouver or Western Canada, please use the fillable time-saving form to respond, and share it and urge other council members and citizens to do so. If you’re anyone else, please similarly use the form for your valuable input and share it.

Fraser Voices is urging action because we see the unaccountable VFPA (like an oligarchy) as very unfortunate for the health of the Fraser Estuary and the environment. As well, documentation that’s been buried since the Emerson era gives reason to think the WCPA would simultaneously be better for the maritime commerce of Western Canada, with a focus on cooperative service to the vast region, not on growing itself for growth’s sake.

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This article has introduced MP Joe Peschisolido of Steveston-Richmond East; Robin Silvester, long-time VFPA CEO with immense power; and former federal minister David Emerson, whose Gateway vision got blinkered by others. You can meet them again in other Fraser Voices articles, nearby on this blog, including a WCPA article and roundtable article. Please do!

The view from here is pretty clear that Robin Silvester and VFPA oligarchy are very adept at growing the VFPA but that the visionary thinking David Emerson showed and Joe Peschisolido respects offers the best prospects in a bigger picture.

A final thought about the input form (in Word version or PDF version): Please just send it off as soon as you finish it, even if you will have more input to the Ports Modernization Review. Since one can send input more then once, there’s no need to wait.

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