The City of Richmond has demanded a meeting with B.C.’s top ministers to vent its frustration with the review into proposed jet fuel pipeline plan.
City council is angry that a whole raft of serious concerns over an airline consortium’s plan — which will see fuel barged up the Fraser River’s south arm, stored in tanks and then piped through the city to YVR — have been left out of an environmental assessment sent to B.C.’s top ministers.
The provincial government has until January 28 to decide on whether or not to follow a yet unknown recommendation from the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO).
The city has been handed a “table of conditions” (ToC), which accompanied the actual assessment of the project, but has not been given a copy of the full report and recommendation.
And the city wants to meet with ministers Terry Lake and Rich Coleman, environment and energy respectively, to ask why several requests were excluded from the ToC.
Specific omissions, which worry city council include the proponent (VAFFC) supplying and maintaining a fully equipped fire hall close to the tank farms on the banks of the river and the proponent supply and maintain a fireboat on the river to deal with any emergencies.
“The exclusion of these comments … to the Ministers is substantive in terms of their future ramifications for the City,” wrote the city’s environmental sustainability manager, Lesley Douglas, in a report to city council.
City council agreed Monday to urgently request a meeting with Lake and Coleman to highlight the omissions from the assessment and re-iterate once more its objection to the proposal as a whole.
Grass roots opposition society VAPOR — which has campaigned vigorously against the plan from the beginning — also expressed its dismay to council Monday at having no access to the ToC or report submitted to the ministers.
“We asked the city if we could see a copy of the ToC but they were told by the BCEAO that only the working groups involved in the process could see it,” said VAPOR’s Carol Day.
“The BCEAO process has been anything but transparent; the 180-day process has turned into a 700 day joke.
“Anytime the BCEAO found a hole in the plan, (the consortium) was given a chance to patch that hole.”
Day added that her VAPOR colleague, retired federal fisheries biologist and Richmond resident Otto Langer, said this was the worst environmental review process he’s witnessed in 25 years.
“When the city’s fire department is expressing strong concerns about a fireboat and a firehall, that can’t be ignored,” said Day.
The VAFFC’s controversial plan has been in the works for several years and involves running a jet fuel pipeline along an outlying section of Francis Road, then Highway 99, Bridgeport Trail, Van Horne Way, Charles Street and a No. 3 Road right of way, eventually leading to YVR.
The city has little or no power over the project’s approval and has been highly critical of the federal/provincial environmental review process.
The BCEAO did not return the News’ calls by press time.