Friday, April 19, 2013

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Port Metro Vancouver approves contentious grain terminal expansion

Port Metro Vancouver approved a massive $120 million grain terminal expansion this week, a controversial project opposed by the City of North Vancouver, the Squamish Nation and many residents.

Richardson plans to start work "immediately" on the 80,000-ton storage expansion project at its North Vancouver terminal. The expansion will implement slip-form concrete silo construction on the east side of the terminal building, plus installations of new distribution equipment and an upgraded dust filtration and collection system.

Richardson International applied to the federal port authority in October to construct 28 new concrete storage silos on its Burrard Inlet site, increasing the terminal's export capacity from three million tons of grain and oilseeds annually to five million tons by 2015.

Soon residents demanded compensation for the traffic, pollution and view impacts of the construction and operation of the new 50-meter storage silos of the new east wing of the grain complex. Richardson declined all such requests.

The City of North Vancouver made a motion formally opposing the terminal expansion on port land, citing lack of communication, and the Squamish Nation government also came out against the project, saying they were not consulted throughout the planning process.

But the Richardson expansion is one of six construction projects on the North Shore that are part of the Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway trade initiative.

Port Metro Vancouver's vice-president of corporate social responsibility, Duncan Wilson, said the Gateway is about improving the economy and jobs.

"We need to look at the bigger picture in terms of the jobs and economic benefit to Canada," Wilson said. "The North Shore terminals are estimated to generate about 12,000 direct and indirect jobs in B.C., which is about $600 million in wages annually."

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