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City of Richmond changes course to attack jet fuel tanker traffic

The City of Richmond has managed to get a consortium of airlines to consider rerouting a pipeline up Highway 99, now its going after the tankers delivering the jet fuel.

The City of Richmond has managed to get a consortium of airlines to consider rerouting a pipeline up Highway 99, now its going after the tankers delivering the jet fuel.

As per an earlier request by the city, Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation (VAFFC) last week added the option of routing its fuel pipe up the highway from a tank farm in southeast Richmond on the banks of the Fraser Rivers south arm.

But after a meeting Monday, the city will now expend its energy going after VAFFCs proposal to bring fuel tankers up the south arm of the Fraser.

The trick, councillors agreed, was knowing who to target with their opposition, bearing in mind the city has no power to halt the fuel delivery plan which is currently going through a provincial environmental approval process.

Theres been all this discussion about the rout of the pipeline, weve forgotten about the tankers, said Coun. Harold Steves.

I think we need to up the ante and go after the tanker traffic, but who do we go to?

Staff told council that their opposition should still go to the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO), which is receiving public comment on the plan until Feb. 1 before making its recommendations.

That course of action was not enough for Coun. Bill McNulty however, who wants the city to beat its chest and rant as loud as possible about the consortiums plan.

He also criticized the upcoming VAFFC open house on Jan. 28, saying its nothing more than a public relations exercise.

Weve been too passive and not active and this open house; theyre like a developer, theyre going to tell you what theyre going build, said McNulty.

No-ones listening to us, theyre just going to go ahead. If were going to oppose something, then we have to oppose it.

Coun. Derek Dang suggested the whole matter stank of a fait accompli.

I have real doubts as to where this is going to take us, he said. These people (VAFFC) have already laid out a lot of money. These people want to source their own fuel.

Theyre having an open house, but whats the point? Its a PR exercise.

As well as re-affirming its opposition to the transportation of jet fuel on the Fraser River, city council decided to request a meeting with Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) which represents the federal interest in the project to discuss the dangers of tanker traffic on the Fraser and the storage of fuel so close to the river.

Anyone wanting to comment on the plan can go to the BCEAOs website at

VAFFCs open house will take place Saturday, Jan. 28 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the East Richmond Community Hall, 12360, Cambie Rd.

VAFFC which wants to control its own fuel supply by barging jet fuel up the south arm of the Fraser River, off-loading into storage tanks at a marine terminal and then piping it through Richmond to YVR commissioned an "independent, third party" study of its preferred plan and three other options.

The fact that the study came out in favour of VAFFCs original plan was criticized by a local protest group called VAPOR, which claimed the report lacked credibility and was biased.

The consortiums project director, Adrian Pollard, told the News last week that relying on the current supply, via a pipeline from a Burnaby refinery and tanker trucks from Washington State, was not an option.