Zoe Royer, Pacific Coast Terminals and Port Moody’s Burrard Inlet

Zoe Royer and Pacific Coast Terminals Port Moody

Burrard Inlet in Port Moody is not only one of the most beautiful places in the Tri-Cities, it’s also home to a diverse and fragile eco-system. It’s a place that Port Moody Councillor Zoe Royer would like to see protected. She recently sent us a copy of a Notice of Motion that she submitted to Port Moody Council. In it, she expressed concerns about the consequences of spilling oil or other bulk goods in the inlet, and proposed that Port Moody industries talk to the city before they expand their operations, switch to coal, potash or crude, or increase capacity.

Here’s part of what she had to say:

Burrard Inlet defines Port Moody. We share it with countless species of fish, mammals, birds and plants: salmon, seals, herons, starfish and eelgrass. We also share the inlet with industry. Long trains with dangerous cargo ride perilously close to the water; large tankers, filled to capacity with oil, sulphur, glycol and hazardous goods float on our precious inlet. All have the potential to destroy life in and around Burrard Inlet … Our shoreline is sheltered from open sea, high winds and marine currents. Contaminants would take decades to be flushed out to English Bay 30km away.

Port Moody industries support jobs and the regional economy. They are run by responsible local workers. I am not proposing that we scale back existing industrial operations.

Decisions about what else (and how much) gets shipped through BC ports are taken in Calgary, Toronto and China. The future of PCT is decided by the Sultran Board currently consisting of senior representatives from Chevron, Husky, Imperial Oil, Suncor, Shell and Sultran.

Oil companies want more capacity to ship crude through BC’s Coast, including Port Moody’s port. Each time a pipeline deal is rejected, the oil industry gets more frantic. What if Ioco adds a dozen trains per night on the spur through Pleasantside? What if Petro Canada builds more storage tanks in Glenayre? Shouldn’t we be consulted first? What if existing liquid-loading facilities at Petro Canada, PCT and Ioco handle more oil? Shouldn’t we have a say about more oil tankers in Port Moody?

I want a bylaw that requires them to consult with residents when they introduce new types of hazardous goods, increase the volume shipped through our city or do anything beyond what goes on today.

We got in touch with Kent Smith, Manager of Maintenance and Engineering, and Diana Dilworth, Administration and Community Relations Coordinator and Port Moody Councillor, at Pacific Coast Terminals to get their perspective. Kent said, “We are very well-prepared for contingencies. We have a site contingency plan that we exercise every year. That involves getting in touch with the city, police force, fire, the port authority all of the different regulatory agencies. We’re probably as prepared as we can be. We’re very proud of our record. We’ve received international awards for safety and environmental protection, as well as local awards from the City of Port Moody.”

He also pointed out that the goods currently shipped by Pacific Coast Terminals are not regulated as dangerous goods, saying, “They’re essentially used to make fertilizer. Coal, that we’ve handled sporadically, is used to make steel and generate electricity. We handled coal for 20 years, between 1960 and 1980. We’ve handled millions of tons of coal. Handling bulk goods is what we do.” Diana Dilworth added, “We’ve been in Port Moody for 52 years.” According to the company, between 1960 and 2004 they loaded more than 125 million tonnes of cargo, including beet pellets, chemical fertilizer, coal, ethylene glycol, grain pellets, gypsum, phosphate rock, potash, salt cake, silica sand, styrene monomer, sulphur, woodchips, urea and zinc concentrate. Essentially, Pacific Coast Terminals is the “Port” in Port Moody.

Zoe Royer and her daughter had the chance to tour Pacific Coast Terminals with Ken Catton on March 20, 2012. She said, “It confirmed for me that while shipping crude is not a good fit for them at this time, they have been asked to consider it by other industry partners.”

That last bit is really the crux of it – how comfortable are we with oil tankers in Burrard Inlet? The fact is, they’re already there. As Councillor Royer points out, local facilities are operated by people who take safety seriously. They live here, and they don’t want to see the local eco-system harmed any more than any other local resident does. But accidents are called accidents for a reason, and we can’t guarantee safety. So the question is this: would more oversight help, or just create additional red tape that industry has to navigate in order to operate? We have two Port Moody councillors with different views. What do you think?

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  1. Jason Hulbert says:

    I find it amazing that after living in the city for years this has suddenly become an issue for Councillor Royer. The mere fact that when she tabled this motion before ever setting foot on the property itself makes me wonder what her actual intentions are.

    “What if existing liquid-loading facilities at Petro Canada, PCT and Ioco handle more oil?” PCT is not an oil handling facility at all.

    “As Councillor Royer points out, local facilities are operated by people who take safety seriously. They live here, and they don’t want to see the local eco-system harmed any more than any other local resident does” Yet in her motion she claims ALL the decsions are made by the Sultran board in China, Calgary and Toronto.

    I think Councillor Royer should get her facts straight before she decides dramatize a non-dramatic situation in Port Moody’s Inlet.

  2. Pat Creighton says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with Jason Hulbert. Councillor Royer should be bringing her concerns to the attention of our local MP as it is his area of jurisdiction. We are already paying provincial and federal taxes to deal with these concerns so if she wants to address her concerns on her own personal time I have no issue with her choices, but NOT on our dollar, please?

    One gets the impression that Councillor Royer is doing this strictly for publicity and has further aspirations, perhaps for the next federal election? That would be a goal where facts wouldn’t matter, just the media coverage, as is happening once again, here.

  3. Judy Taylor-Atkinson says:

    I support Councillor Royer and her motion. Kinder Morgan is proposing to quadruple it’s operations on the side of Burnaby Mountain and in the inlet. This is increasing our chances of an oil spill, increasing our air pollution and we don’t know the effects on the aquatic life. We’ve already had an oil spill in the inlet. The federal MP for the area is part of the party that just gutted the Environmental Review Process. The Conservative Party has declared open season on the environment. Anyone who cares about our ecosystem should stand behind Councillor Royer. Kinder Morgan is an American company and they are used to steam rolling their way through any opposition. I lived in the U.S. for 24 years and am unfortunately familiar with differing attitudes in corporations between the two countries.