Tsawwassen and port projects generate debate
Thank you, Daniel Wood, for a long-awaited exposé of the behemoth Deltaport Terminal 2 and the scandalous misuse of agricultural land, including opportunistic land swaps with the Tsawwassen First Nation [“ Delta projects threaten farms and wildlife”, January 17-24]. It was so stomach churning that I had to read it in two sittings.
What a legacy Gordo has left in the guise of appeasing First Nations while serving up technocratic dream$ to the overlords of perpetual commerce. You can’t knock the TFN. They know a good deal when they see one.
We certainly can’t trust Port Metro Vancouver to deliver us a sustainable future. Most frightful, its federal standing can trump any protection of the Agricultural Land Reserve.
I advise Greater Vancouver denizens to visit South Delta to get a sense of the scale of this disaster, which is already well under way. To see the world we are leaving behind for future generations, drive around the back roads southwest of Highway 99 and feel your jaw drop. Then recover from your nausea with a peaceful walk on the dyke to contemplate what’s at stake.
Hell, you can see it all on Google Earth from the comfort of your home. Welcome to the South Fraser Perimeter Road—a bloated megaproject if ever there was one.
The port is obviously an out-of-control land-grabbing leviathan run by drones who are completely out of touch with reality. They live in a parallel and out-of-date world of unlimited growth.
They’re doomed, but we can’t let them drag the rest of us down with them, not without a fight. Great civilizations of the past lived and died based on their local food supply. We are no exception.
> Glen Andersen / Alluvia, B.C.
I was dismayed by Wood’s story. From the perspective of the Tsawwassen First Nation, it seemed to concentrate more on the selling of a conspiracy-based narrative rather than on the facts. And to arbitrarily combine TFN’s developments—the communal and individual ones—with the commercial port expansion and to rehash Tsawwassen’s treaty settlement in regard to the agricultural land removal almost seven years later is, well, comparing apples and oranges, to say the least.
TFN’s desire to settle a treaty and to develop an economy has been no secret. In fact, we have been very public and transparent. Our settlement, which was a relatively modest one in our view—particularly the small size of our land—came after more than a century of our people living on a tiny reserve. This was in the midst of growing communities and a booming economy, while we lived under the thumb of the Indian Act’s restrictions and injustices.
We watched communities prosper while we were left with greatly limited opportunities. This changed with our adoption in 2009 of the treaty we signed with the federal and B.C. governments.
Finally, after decades of poverty, massive unemployment, and Indian Act restrictions, we were allowed to exercise jurisdiction that our neighbours have taken for granted since settling in this area. We developed our government along with our land-use plans based on principles of sustainability. Our objective is to develop an economy and a tax base that will support a self-sufficient community with jobs for local people and a land-management plan that is based on high urban-planning standards, and that allows for some residential and industrial development alongside the retention of some agricultural lands.
We have shared our land-use plan with the public—even options our community considered, including a more intensive land-use plan than the one selected. We must remember that TFN’s land base is very tiny, and we cannot squander our opportunities because the treaty is supposed to be a one-time final agreement. We have to be very careful to achieve a sustainable community from a cultural, social, environmental, and, yes, economic perspective.
MLA Vicki Huntington’s comments about our people and our new government do us a disservice. We are quite capable of learning from others’ mistakes and recognize that we will likely make a few of our own. It is clear that she has much to learn about us and our visions for the future. Clearly, we cannot fix urban sprawl in the entire Lower Mainland.
> Kim Baird / Strategic Initiatives Director, Tsawwassen First Nation