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.

The Ports Modernization Review deadline has passed, but stay tuned for further opportunities via the Liberals’ Marine Ports Caucua.  And if you’re not sure why reform is needed, see this highly informed list of concerns.

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.

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.

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