‘Just plain wrong’: Pitt Meadows council opposes proposed CP facility

Pitt Meadows council remains unchanged in its opposition to a proposed CP facility – an industrial park designed to be a shipping hub for fuel, automobiles, and grain.

Council was first notified of the project, CP Logistics Park, in 2020 and has been opposed to it since due to the loss of agricultural land, health hazards to Pitt Meadows residents from fumes, noise and vibrations, as well as implications to the city’s groundwater levels.

CP’s Environmental Effects Evaluation (EEE), is also “unsatisfactory” and contains “numerous errors and omissions,” according to the city’s manager of major projects Justin Hart.

During the April 5 council meeting, council heard a presentation from Hart outlining the inaccuracies and deficiencies in CP’s report.

A few of the main concerns the city has with the EEE include:

  • Increased truck traffic and impacts to the city’s infrastructure. The project would need about 412,000 truck trips for the infill. However, CP is not required to pay the city’s road levies because the organization is strictly subject to federal laws and regulations.
  • The extra burden on volunteer firefighters due to the hazardous goods being proposed at this facility. Fuel, grain and electric vehicles are all high risk materials, said Mayor Bill Dingwall. “We’re dealing with high hazard commodities.” Dingwall said CP has offered to provide training to the firefighters. There are 35-40 volunteers that are in flux every few years.
  • Concerns about the city’s drainage systems including Katzie Slough and Kennedy Pump station because the project is expected to change groundwater levels. 
  • Construction proximity to residential homes. Work may take place within 6.5 metres of some residences.
  • Air quality. According to the city, modelling suggests that emissions from the park’s operations “could exceed applicable ambient air quality objectives.” 

“We cannot minimize the human impact of this air quality,” said Coun. Nicole MacDonald. “This is not the right location.”

  • The removal of 41 hectares of “prime agricultural land”. 

Following the presentation, many councillors had to control their emotions before speaking.

Coun. Bob Meachen said it’s easy to feel angry.

“This is the single most critical, most impactful thing that is coming our way in our little town of Pitt Meadows,” he said. “I can’t find one good thing about this.”

Coun. MacDonald thanked staff for their work on the opposition and said the city has to keep shouting to regulating bodies. 

“This project will kill our community,” she said. “We all get the need of supply chain and rail, but this industrial use on prime protected agriculture, in a residential community . . . it’s just plain wrong.”

Mayor Dingwall expressed similar sentiments.

“We are extremely disappointed with CP’s lack of transparency and their blatant disregard for the comments, concerns and feedback provided by citizens, staff and Council related to this proposed project,” he stated in a press release. “We will continue to do everything we can to lobby our position to decision makers and protect the safety, health and wellbeing of our community.”

The city said that the nearly 800-page document: “does not provide a sufficient or suitable basis for CP to proceed with an application to the Canadian Transportation Agency,” which is the next step forward for CP.

The Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA) has the final say on whether the project receives approval.

According to a timeline on CP’s website, a decision is expected by the CTA before the end of this year. A detailed design would be released in 2023 and construction would begin in 2026.

CP Logistics Park is proposed for a 41-hectare parcel of land already owned by CP. The land is located to the south of CP’s existing Vancouver Intermodal Facility, which is east of Kennedy Road.

The project has three main parts:

  • An agricultural hub: where Canadian agricultural products will come by rail and be transferred to shipping containers for worldwide travel.
  • An auto lot: where North American-made vehicles will arrive that are destined for local distributors. The auto lot will be specifically designed for electric vehicles.
  • A liquids transload and rail facility for transportation fuels and ethanol for Metro Vancouver.

The project is separate from the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements Project.

Council has dedicated many staff hours to opposing the project. To work on its response to the EEE, the city also contracted its own experts to offer a third-party review of the data. The city sent an over 300-page letter to CP on March 18 detailing its problems with the EEE.

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