Delta isn’t seeking cash or an amenity contribution from the Port of Vancouver just yet.
During council’s discussion Monday on a staff report outlining the city’s position expressing a number of concerns about the proposed Terminal 2 megaproject at Roberts Bank, Coun. Jeannie Kanakos noted “a significant community amenity” should be given to Delta if the application receives federal approval.
City manager Sean McGill responded that Delta wants issues addressed before any requests are made for a contribution to the city.
“We have taken a strategy at staff to clearly not ask for amenities or give any kind of perception that we’re comfortable with the process moving forward if there’s a certain amount of money or amenity tied to that...we don’t want the process to proceed until there’s a solution to the George Massy Tunnel, until they’ve (environmental review panel) had a better understanding of the conflicts and make a decision on the biofilm (and) the killer whales. So, we’ve made a conscious decision to avoid discussion on amenities, to give any impression at all we’re comfortable with things where they’re at. Absolutely, council has the opportunity to change that,” he said.
“That being said, we also know the port is very clear if it does proceed, that they have significant community amenities that they’ll be discussing with staff. At that point we would want to come to council. That’s a talk that deserves its own discussion where we say, “What do you want? How do you see it proceeding? Where would you like it to go? Things like dredging. Things like parks and recreation facilities….'”added McGill.
Mayor George Harvie agreed, saying until Delta’s concerns are addressed, they should not be talking amenities. However, he said if T2 goes ahead, “We should be pounding on the table to be treated properly.”
How much money could be coming to the host community remains unclear.
“We have reached out to the City of Delta to begin the discussion on community investment funding with regard to the project. We look forward to working with the city to provide more details of the potential funding and discuss how the funds might be used within the community. The funding distribution and timing will be determined in consultation with the city,” a port spokesperson recently told the Optimist.
The city used an amenity contribution from the port to purchase the Seven Seas site in Ladner which has been vacant for years
In 2008, Delta used $2 million it received in amenity money from Port Metro Vancouver to acquire the Seven Seas property on Chisholm Street in Ladner. A celebrated purchase at the time, the amenity contribution was for the Deltaport third berth project.
The city subsequently tried to sell the Seven Seas property but there have been no takers, due in large part to the provincial government not offering longer term waterfront leases that could encourage redevelopment, so the building and property remain vacant.
Delta also received money when Deltaport opened in the mid-1990s that was used to fund community amenities, including the Tsawwassen Arts Centre.
As far as what could be coming Delta’s way this time around, the port’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project Environmental Impact Statement Executive Summary notes the port already provides community legacy benefits whereby, on an annual basis, it support communities through a broad-ranging Community Investment Program.
“Port Metro Vancouver has consulted and had discussions with local governments (Delta, Surrey, Richmond, City of Langley, Township of Langley and Tsawwassen First Nation) and the public regarding community legacy benefits that would be provided as part of the project. The objectives of the community legacy benefits are to bring lasting economic and social benefits to communities and the region,” the port authority explains.
The port also notes community legacy benefits will continue to be discussed throughout the development of the T2 project.