I have read the environmental assessment screening for the Pinnacle Shipping Terminal to be located at the Westview Terminal Site in detail. I have a number of questions which remain unanswered.
Approximately 100 people attended each of two public meetings and the message was very clear: This is a great project for Prince Rupert, but the Westview site is not an appropriate location because of its impact on residential areas and waterfront access, and the potential for fire, explosion, and harmful dust emissions. The argument has been made that there are far greater economic benefits to the community if the waterfront was developed with a linear trail and other commensurate commercial activity. I have also demonstrated through an economic analysis of property values, that the decreases in property assessments in the area will pretty much cancel out the tax revenue paid by Pinnacle Pellet.
While other locations have been ruled out for various reasons, I note that there is no mention made in the report of a suggestion made at the second public meeting of utilizing the bench land area adjacent to the Fairview Terminal for the storage silos. Was this location actually considered?
At the public meetings and through 70 written submissions, the community expressed its concern about the loss of access to the waterfront. At the second public meeting Pinnacle Pellet ended its presentation by making a commitment to develop a linear park along the water front from the Westview site connecting with the Rotary Park. I see no mention of this commitment in the report and subsequent press releases. The opposite seems to be true. Buried in the Appendix is a map titled “Giving Back to the Community”, which describes how security fencing, barriers, and locked security gates will exclude the public from the waterfront. Could you explain to the community how such an abrupt change in commitment was made and how fencing and locked gates constitutes “Giving Back to the Community?”.
The public will also have to pass through a newly constructed CN Security gate on Bill Murray Drive in order to access the Rotary Waterfront Park. How is this conducive to the economic development of that area and what message does it send to tourists and the community?
The locked gates and elimination of access to the rail crossing at the bottom of Graham Ave also means that the only access to “Section 2”, the area of Graham, Atlin, 2nd Ave, and Alpine Drive is via the Second Ave. Bridge. In the event of an emergency requiring response by fire trucks, ambulance, or police, any blockage or damage to the bridge will prevent access to the area and isolate those residents. How will this area of the City be able to function if such an incident arises?
I also note that in section 6.2.14 that within two short sentences the conclusion is made that there will be no adverse socio-economic effects. This is a remarkable statement given the volume of written submissions and attendance at the public meetings against the location of the terminal at Westview. Could you explain how such a conclusion was made and the analysis used to reach that decision?
I also note that you are continuing to rely upon the fact that the public was adequately consulted under last year’s 2020 Land Use Management Plan about the potential use of the Westview site and all other areas within the jurisdiction of the Port of Prince Rupert. I have provided you with legal advice that reliance upon that process as constituting adequate consultation stands on very shaky grounds. That report only considered the Westview site a suitable for cruise ship or mini-bulk shipments. Minibulk shipping is considered to be less than 25,000 DWT while this facility is designed to handle 75,000 DWT Panamax vessels. Is it your intention for type of interpretation to stand as an example of your commitment to genuine consultation with the community?
The report also expresses a desire to engage in meaningful dialogue with the city and community in the development of a long term waterfront access and development plan. Could you explain to me why a similar commitment to develop a Waterfront Liason Committee made over a year ago in 2020 PRPA Land Use Plan has not been acted upon and why I have not had the courtesy of a response to my written requests to do so?
I look forward to seeing the port work together with the community as a true partner with shared decision making rather than just going through the motions of consultation. You might just be surprised at how easy and beneficial that would be to all concerned.