Impacts of Roberts Bank Terminal 2 on Delta, BC farmland



Re: MLA says losing prime Delta farmland would be ‘criminal’, May 6

It’s great to know Delta South MLA Ian Paton is speaking out on this issue. Farmlands have been at peril in B.C. since the Liberal party started dismantling the ALR. The Ministry of Agriculture has stated that we need to increase the amount of farmland if we are to be self-sufficient. Our farmlands have been under pressure for industrial and residential land use in recent years and we have lost, not gained land.

This will continue in Delta as we are being pressured by the Port of Vancouver to build the T2 container terminal. This additional industry will require infrastructure and facilities. The only available land for this is farmland.

This puts the need for industrial and residential lands at odds with maintaining our farmlands. As a result, we need to assess how developments like the T2 expansion can harm our agricultural output as well as our environment.

There is no question that Delta has some of the finest climatic conditions and farmland in Canada. As well, food production can be effectively distributed to a large local market. This limits the need for truck traffic and unpredictable or expensive import of food.

Internationally, farmlands have been receding as population grows. As a result, the need for more farmland becomes imperative and less possible as time goes on.

Our agricultural community hasn’t always been appreciated as much as it should be: It isn’t the most glamorous industry. We are losing our farm communities as people move from the rural areas to more lucrative city jobs. The result of this is large industrial farming. However, it has also changed how people judge food quality. This has brought about the need for specialty and organic foods not produced by larger farms.

The COVID-19 outbreak has emphasized the need for our country and politicians to consider this issue. As countries are becoming more protective of their exports, production can be restricted or quality becomes questionable. It is now necessary for us to review our need for self-sufficiency in food production.

To protect our country for the future, we need to protect our farmlands. This means we need to re-asses all proposals that take away this land. Hopefully Paton and all MLAs will recognize this need and oppose the T2 proposal and its drive to industrialize our farmland.

Peter van der Velden

This article about the impacts of Roberts Bank Terminal 2 on Delta, BC farmland by Peter van der Velden originally appeared in the Delta Optimist on May 23, 2020. 

Watch: Industry and environmental experts see problems with Roberts Bank Terminal 2 by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority