The City of Pitt Meadows is firing another broadside in its battle against the proposed CP Rail Logistics Park.
The city offered a counterpoint to CP’s Environmental Effects Evaluation (EEE).
“It is the city’s view that the EEE contains numerous errors and omissions and does not provide a sufficient or suitable basis for CP to proceed with an application to the Canadian Transportation Agency (CTA),” said a letter from the city to CP.
The city offered its assessment of the railway’s EEE, and copied it to numerous senior government officials and the Katzie First Nation.
At the end of 2020, CP Rail announced a plan to build a logistics facility on land next to its existing intermodal rail facility. The 41-hectare site would include a fuel and ethanol transload facility, an agriculture hub, and an auto compound to receive vehicles destined for B.C. distributors.
City staff says the CP evaluation contains numerous errors and omissions, understates impacts, lacks technical detail, and the city’s concerns have not been addressed.
A presentation to council was made by the city’s major projects manager Justin Hart.
Among the transportation impacts, Hart told council there was poor analysis of the Logistics Park impact on traffic and safety, with no mitigation of the increase in heavy truck traffic, estimated at 750 daily truck trips.
CP’s traffic assessment assumes the traffic lights at Kennedy Road and Lougheed Highway will be optimized for the sole benefit of the logistics park, without considering impacts to other traffic. There is also an unsupported assumption a Kennedy Road overpass will be built prior to 2030, he said.
Preloading the site for construction will bring an estimated 3.3 million cubic metres of material, in 412,000 truck trips, said Hart, and estimated the cost of repaving roads at $1.65 million.
He said CP has not identified the impacts on city’s water drainage systems, including Katzie Slough and Kennedy Slough.
“All of these errors and omissions are concerning, as following the atmospheric river in November 2021, the northern part of the logistics park site was significantly flooded.” Hart told council.
He noted CP will “build their way out of trouble” by raising the property, but that doesn’t consider impacts on neighbouring properties as “that water does need to go somewhere.”
He said that pollutants could exceed air quality objectives, and CP’s model understates the current conditions.
The city also takes issue with the railway’s noise and vibration evaluation, and mitigation strategies.
CP Rail is planning stormwater management ponds and sound walls on the site.
Hart said the city fire services does not have the personnel, equipment and training to respond to the majority of emergency scenarios that could happen at the site. Both fuels and stored agriculture products are hazardous. He said CP’s work minimizes that risk.
CP also hasn’t addressed the impacts on agriculture, loss of farmland or impacts on fish and wildlife, said the staff assessment.
Members of council expressed growing frustration with the railway.
“Our staff have done a tremendous amount of research to prove, I think to a great extent, that the decisions being made by CP are based on technical information, engineering, statistics and so forth, that are wrong,” said Coun. Bob Meachen. “And yet it still proceeds.”
“I know that in the audience, there are people who aren’t sleeping because of this,” he added. “This is the single most critical, most impactful thing that is coming our way in our little town of Pitt Meadows.”
Coun. Nicole MacDonald said the facility doesn’t belong in city, and that will be council’s message to Transport Canada, Health Canada and federal agencies.
“As as a council, we have to keep shouting to those bodies. They have to listen. This project will kill our community,” said MacDonald.
She said the city needs to rally the Katzie, neighbouring communities, environmental groups, and the provincial government.
“We all get the need for supply chain and rail, but this industrial use on prime, protected agriculture (land) in a residential community – it’s just wrong.”
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