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CP Rail makes application for new logistics park in Pitt Meadows

City will oppose the proposal to the Canadian Transportation Agency, says mayor
CP Rail intends to create a logistics park with fuel and grain storage in Pitt Meadows. (Special to The News)

CP Rail has made formal application to the Canadian Transportation Agency for its proposed logistics park in Pitt Meadows, which would see storage of fuels, grain and agriculture products, and vehicles in the city.

Mayor Bill Dingwall said city staff are pouring over the hundreds of pages in the application, and will offer their own submission to the Transportation Agency opposing CP’s plans. The city has opposed the project since it was first announced in December of 2020.

“We think we have a very compelling case,” said Dingwall. “We are strongly opposed to it – a 7-0 vote by this council, and also our CAO and staff.”

The proposed logistics park would sit on 41 hectares of CP-owned land near the railway’s existing facility at Kennedy Road, just off the Lougheed Highway, called the Vancouver Intermodal Facility, where containers are loaded onto trucks.

The logistics park would feature a liquids transload facility for transportation fuels and ethanol, an agricultural hub where farm products would be received by rail and transloaded into shipping containers for distribution around the world, and an auto lot to receive North American-made vehicles for Lower Mainland distributors.

READ ALSO: Pitt Meadows city hall and residents oppose new CP Rail operation

READ ALSO: From ‘The Natural Place’ to ‘The Industrial Place’

Dingwall said the fuel storage is an obvious fire hazard, and grains are also highly combustible. He said the city’s fire department, which has eight career firefighters and other paid-on-call firefighters, is not trained and equipped to deal with a major fire at such facilities.

CP’s plans would also result in the loss of 100 acres of farmland, and the city has voiced concerns about truck traffic, air and noise pollution, vibrations and environmental hazards.

The project has also been opposed by the Katzie First Nation, and the provincial Agricultural Land Commission.

READ ALSO: Agricultural Land Commission opposes CP plans in Pitt Meadows

The CP application contains a detailed response to the city’s comments. It notes the railway wants a Kennedy Road overpass built to accommodate traffic, but that project was paused in March 2021 at the city’s request.

“CP has heard and addressed comments from the city and other members of the community about concerns regarding the ability of Pitt Meadows Fire and Rescue Service (PMFRS) to properly service the proposed facility. CP safely moves the goods being proposed for the CP Logistics Park: Vancouver through Pitt Meadows every day…” said the application. It added CP has reached out to the city fire chief to discuss the project and needs of the fire service, and will make sure the necessary training and procedures are in place before the site is in operation.

On the loss of farmland, the application said: “CP understands the importance of agriculture to both the local and regional economy, as well as the importance of agricultural land in the Lower Mainland. One of the goals of the proposed project is to create critical infrastructure to ensure Canadian agricultural products can reach international markets. Responsibly reconciling these two important objectives is a challenge that CP takes seriously.”

CP said it will work on mitigating impacts for many of the contentious issues, and noted it has completed a three-round public consultation process.

CP said the city will benefit from 150 to 250 new jobs, as well as contracting opportunities. There would also be hundreds of jobs created during construction. The project would also contribute $4.1 million annually in local and provincial taxes.

The railway also said it investigated six other potential sites, but none would have “significantly lower impacts.”

“CP submits that the location of the Logistic Park Project is reasonable considering the interests of the localities, the requirement for railway services and the inherent attributes of the site,” said the application. “While an environmental assessment was not required under the Impact Assessment Act, CP completed an Environmental Effects Evaluation and has extensively engaged with the public, accommodating their concerns through changes to the design and underlying construction methodology.

“The works proposed are adjacent to CP’s existing Vancouver Intermodal Facility and proximate to the Port of Vancouver. The project will leverage CP’s existing infrastructure to better serve the Canadian economy and shippers at large for decades to come.”

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

Neil Corbett has been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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