Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau paid a visit to Metro Vancouver Wednesday.
The Port of Metro Vancouver took Garneau out on a tour of the harbour to give him some ideas on how to spend some of the billions of dollars in infrastructure promised in the fall election campaign.
And it’s been made perfectly clear to the minister that the port should be his top priority.
“There is a long list and there are long lists right across the country so we’re going to be looking at all of them and deciding on where is it the most important for us in order to make our trades flows as efficient as possible because it has a big effect on the economy of the country,” Garneau said.
The minister heard Wednesday that a top priority is the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project at the mouth of the Fraser River in Delta.
“It’ll be a $3-billion investment funded by the private sector but making sure we have all of the infrastructure components in place to allow that terminal to operate efficiently is another important conversation we’re having today,” Port of Metro Vancouver President and CEO Robin Silvester said.
The port appears to be the darling of government spending these days, both federally and provincially. Six weeks ago the province announced plans to build a $3.5-billion bridge to replace the Massey Tunnel.
“I’ve always felt that this project was…mostly about Port Metro Vancouver,” Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie said. “I suspect that the port would be expected to pony up a very significant portion of the cost for this project.”
“That’s not a conversation we’ve been having so far,” Silvester said. “It’s obviously a very important project for mobility of traffic on Highway 99. Our input has been through the consultation process to make sure that we can continue to use the river as a trading artery.”
– With files from Ted Chernecki