Thursday, August 27, 2009

Podunk Below the Masthead, Thursday, August 27, 2009

The differences between Ports in Vancouver and Prince Rupert are examined, Wind Power receives a welcome breeze from the BC Hdro and the city's younger website designers show their stuff through a summer camp.

DAILY NEWS, Headline Story, Thursday, August 27, 2009
VANCOUVER, PRINCE RUPRET PORTS COMPARED AT AGM-- As part of this weeks gathering of Port officials in Prince Rupert, a discussion session was held to examine the nature of how the ports work and what their concerns are on the West Coast (see story here), item is provided at the bottom of this post as well.

The city's youthful computer types had the opportunity to showcase their ideas and knowledge through a summer camp run by the City of Prince Rupert, the result of their efforts and the potential for more camps was outlined in the Wednesday paper (see story here)

BC Hyrdro's clean power call is back on track, as the provincial power provider reinforced its intent to follow through on the request for alternate forms of power production, looking to find a way to move the process forward while falling into guidelines from the BCUC. It was a welcome statement from local wind power proponents who were a little surprised at the recent ruling from the Utilities Commission (see story here)

While they may have had unforseen difficulties getting the Northern Adventure to and fro last weekend, the picture is much more positive for BC Ferry's when it comes to their latest report, while they may be 3.6 million shorter in cash from last year thanks to the recession, Ferries executives found some things to be hopeful on for the future (see story here)

PRINCE RUPERT PORT PIONEER HONOURED BY NATIONAL ASSOCIATION-- A long time proponent of Prince Rupert's future as a world port, Dr. Bill Hick, received an honour from the Association of Canadian Port Authorities this week. The Nothern View outlined his past efforts and the impact he has had on Prince Rupert's evolution in the transportation industry (see story here)

Daily News, Front page headline story
Vancouver, Prince Rupert ports compared at AGM
By George T. Baker
The Prince Rupert Daily News
Thursday, August 27, 2009

Amalgamation was one of the strategies under discussion at the Port Authorities' AGM Wednesday afternoon.

As gateways become more relevant over the next decade, Port Authorities would like the federal government to take a harder look at how it views its national strategy when it comes to port development. Whether that means amalgamating ports or another strategy is unknown at this point, but certainly port officials would like the discussion of gateways to move into more substantial avenues.

"It is clear to me that as we go into a gateway, we have to consider changing our ways," said current Association of Canadian Port Authority's, Gaetan Boivin. "Amalgamation may not be a solution, but we have to make sure we make the best use of the infrastructure paid for by taxpayers."An example of amalgamation was the Port Metro Vancouver, which combined three port authorities - the Fraser River Port Authority, the North Fraser Port Authority, and the Vancouver Port Authority - in January 2008.

Robin Silvester, the Port Metro Vancouver's CEO and President, said bringing all three sides together has been a hugely successful move for the port because it allowed three ports that work in the same vicinity to work together at the same time, rather than fighting and competing against each other. "For Vancouver, the amalgamation has been beneficial for our gateway," he told audience members at the 51st ACPA Annual General Meeting and Conference.

One of the benefits, he argued, was allowing for strategic infrastructural spending within the region, dealing with what could be transportation pinpoints throughout the various jurisdictions in the lower mainland. "One of the advantages we hear about Prince Rupert is how it is not encumbered by its population because of the smaller city size," said Silvester. "I have never thought of Vancouver as encumbered by population but underpinned because of it.

"But as Vancouver grows both in population size (expected to increase by one million said Silvester) it will also grow in land pressure.

For a Port Authority, that means it must be willing and able to see how the surrounding landscape will develop. And unlike Prince Rupert, which has nothing but a vast wilderness and small communities surrounding it, Vancouver is surrounded by dwindling agricultural space and large communities of sprawl and mixed use.

"Land purchase and acquisition is going to be key to Vancouver as we look at growth in volumes of trade," said Silvester. "And this is not about any land, it's about land for economic use."

That is underscored by the battle between Ports Vancouver and Metro Vancouver over ownership of the Canfor lands in New Westminster.

Ports Vancouver claims it signed a purchase agreement for the 18.3-hectare parcel, located in the Braid industrial area, three days before Metro Vancouver expropriated the property on April 14, 2008.The waterfront property was put up for sale in 2008 after Canadian Forest Products closed its panel mill on the site.

"We must recognize the competition for the limited amount of land by the various user industries," Silvester added.

Recognizing that and buying social license are two separate things, though. Silvester said that amongst Port Metro's top achievements was the agreements signed with the Tswassen nation so that it might use Roberts Banks.

"It is important that we do all that we need to do to minimize the community impact," said Silvester. In Prince Rupert, the port authority here isn't dealing so much with competition for land use as much as securing agreements with the Tsimshian over how the community will be compensated for the use of the land.

Tsimshian elder, James Bryant, has welcomed and spoken to many different groups on behalf of the Tsimshian people at this week's AGM. The welcome is polite, but Bryant also uses the opportunity to discuss his frustration over the inability of the Tsimshian to come to an agreement with the PRPA."It has to be said," asserted Bryant. "It should be part of your deliberations this week."PRPA chair, Dale Mclean, said he is aware of the frustration, but has no timetable for an agreement."The future of the Tsimshian people and the port are intertwined," McLean said.

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