Joe Peschisolido: A little flight planning needed at Vancouver International Airport

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      The British Columbia licence plates created for the 2010 Olympic Games read the “Best Place on Earth”. The recent project to ship jet fuel along the world’s largest salmon producing river through the urban setting of Richmond to the world’s number one airport leaves you wondering whether we match our thinking to our licence plates.

      The Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation is a consortium of airlines and fuel users, which presently own and operate fuel storage and distribution facilities at the Vancouver International Airport. The VAFFC wishes to construct a stand-alone jet fuel pipeline—downloading the fuel at a marine loading terminal on the north shore of the Fraser River, pumping the fuel through a small diameter pipeline for approximately 15 kilometres through the municipality of Richmond, and finally delivering it to the Vancouver International Airport.

      Given the recent geotechnical events in Japan and the lack of emergency planning for potential natural disasters, it seems clear that before any project is approved, the government of Canada needs to take a good look at the critical piece of infrastructure that is the Vancouver International Airport.

      It is necessary to conduct a proper risk assessment of the proposed VAFFC project and examine alternative options of delivering fuel to the airport in a safe and secure fashion. An assessment being conducted by the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office looks solely at the project as presented and makes recommendations to the British Columbia minister of environment. Much of the risk and environmental factors fall within federal jurisdiction and it is essential to look at this in a holistic manner. We cannot have a flawed assessment process.

      We do not need a meltdown before coming together as a nation to look at this important issue. As we move forward in the 21st century, working together will ensure that future development of fuel delivery to the Vancouver International Airport is done in a sustainable and globally beneficial way. Strong, clear leadership at the federal level is needed on the issue of risk. We need to be out in front on these issues and that is why I am calling for this project to have a proper risk assessment directed by the federal government before any final decision is made.

      Let’s match our thinking to our licence plates, for a stronger, safer country and for taking the time to pause and look at this project critically.

      Joe Peschisolido is the Liberal candidate for Richmond.

      Comments

      2 Comments

      Agent P

      Apr 25, 2011 at 9:56pm

      What this article is missing, and it should stand out as the elephant in the room, is that this pipeline is going to replace a 40 year old pipeline that is approaching its end of life. It cannot be upgraded at a price anywhere near reasonable nor should it be since its 47km long and goes through most of urban Burnaby. Further to that, the people of Richmond need to realize that 14 kilometers of this pipeline are in Richmond already. Its old, its been damaged and repaired, its barely covered in some spots and crosses the Fraser River in TWO places. Where it crosses the river, the pipeline is held down with gravel to protect it.

      BUT, if the people of Richmond are content putting their heads in the sand and pretending that the existing pipeline is not a ticking, environmental time bomb, then perhaps BC's largest workplace, and Richmonds largest tax payer would be better off cutting their losses and investing in future infrastructure in Abbotsford. With neighbours like the City of Richmond, who needs enemies?

      Vapor Scott

      Apr 28, 2011 at 12:08am

      Agent P

      I am part of group of Richmond residents (VAPOR) www.vaporbc.com opposing VAFFC's current proposed plan. First off we are not opposed to fuel expansion to VYR. We also to not want to shift unacceptable risk on to other municipalities. We want to make sure that best option is chosen. Oil tankers traveling 15kms up the Fraser and a Pipeline through large residential areas in not a good option, especially when other options exist. Using Delta port or Cherry point with a pipeline down 99 hwy road allowance or No 7 rd. makes much more sense.

      In addition to these concerns fire protection of VAFFC's facility will fall on the City of Richmond (as opposed to the fuel storage at the airport which is covered by airport authority) who will be hard pressed to fight any fire at a tank farm holding 80 million litres of Jet fuel which will also be located next to residential and entertainment (theater, restaurants, hotel, etc) structures. Does this sound like sound like a good plan to you. VAFFC is also a non-profit which would have lowest legal liability, making any claim for damages they inflict and deficiencies in implementation virtually impossible. So there is no incentive to do this project right in respect to people living in the effected areas, which I feel is why the deficiencies in their plan are big enough to drive a truck through. VAFFC has chosen the cheapest option for them to implement, not the best option.

      I understand your concern over the existing pipeline through residential areas. Using your same argument how is it fair to place the pipeline through Richmond residential areas. My point is that it should not go through or near any residential areas.

      P.S. I hope Agent P doesn't stand for Adrian Pollard of VAFFC