Port Metro Vancouver Releases Environmental & Technical Reports on the Proposed Low Level Road Project

As we barrel like a CN train toward the June 11 vote by CNV Council on the proposed Low Level Road project, at long last Port Metro Vancouver has released the results of their environmental and technical reports on the potential impacts to the community as a result of the project.  While the North Van Urban Forum welcomes the release, we continue to have questions, and more than a few concerns (not least of which is the timing of the release, given the proximity of the vote).  We also welcome the addition of our name in the report summarising the responses arising from the May 23 Public Meeting, though we would respectfully point out that we are officially called the North Van Urban Forum, rather than North Shore, but what’s in a name, after all?

More concerning than being named incorrectly is the lack of detail regarding our delegation’s concerns, and the apparent dismissal of the business case issue as presented to council.  The response from Council regarding our business case request indeed raises some as yet unanswered questions.  As previously noted on this site, the following wording is somewhat troubling to the very concepts of democracy and transparency:

“Some elements of the confidential report cannot be publicly shared to protect the business interests of the City and Port Metro Vancouver the City [sic] who are still in the process of negotiating an agreement that will allow the Low Level Road project to proceed.”

One can only question what “business interests” of the city should be protected from the public that indeed constitutes said city.  Are we not the City?  Do the representatives of the City of North Vancouver not represent the interests of the public?

Back to the environmental and technical reports, this humble commentator can attest to the technical nature of the reports.  On that we can agree.  Reflecting on the Air Quality Assessment report, I would perhaps be concerned with how such an apparently detailed report can be summed up in a two paragraph conclusion, that seems to rely solely on potential  future regulatory changes to emissions requirements, rather than on actions taken by the Port and its stakeholders in the unfolding of the project.  Likewise regarding traffic emissions: while the report does acknowledge a decrease in air quality as a result of this project, this is apparently dismissed due to the mitigation “in the future by improvements in vehicle and fuel efficiencies.”

“While the predicted maximum pollutant concentrations may increase with the realignment of Low Level Road, the increases are expected to be mitigated in the future by improvements in vehicle and fuel efficiencies.”

Let’s re-word this in layman’s terms: In the future cars will be better so we don’t need to be concerned about increased traffic.  Is it just me, or is relying on the future to solve society’s problems today a bit of a cop-out?

Anyway, early days and little time for analysis.  We welcome your comments, and indeed a technical response from technical minded people is always appreciated.

In the meantime, happy reading folks, and come out June 11 to hear the response from our councillors!