VANCOUVER, B.C.–In 2014, Port Metro Vancouver is undergoing a renewal of its project and environmental review process.
When Port Metro Vancouver began updating its Land Use Plan in 2012, it also received feedback from the public and stakeholders about our Project Review Process.
This feedback, along with the other factors listed below, was taken into consideration in a decision to conduct an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Project Review Process, the port said in a release.
• The last decade has seen a significant increase in trade through the Port, and forecasts suggest that, over a 30-year planning horizon, demand for trade will continue to grow. The volume and complexity of projects requiring review will also grow;
• Recent changes to federal environmental legislation (Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012) are requiring changes to the processes to ensure that federal and delegated processes apply reasonable and consistent review timeframes;
• The Burrard Inlet Environmental Action Program (BIEAP) and Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP) partnerships has been eliminated, requiring Port Metro Vancouver to undertake certain activities previously done through those programs;
• Port Metro Vancouver’s customers – the proponents of development on port land – are seeking greater clarity as they undergo the Project Review Process. Port Metro Vancouver understands the need to make changes that are more properly aligned with customer responsiveness;
• Public expectations of review processes are changing such that there is increased desire for more public input and transparency in decision making.
In 2013 Port Metro Vancouver retained Robin Junger of MacMillan LLP and Judy Kirk of Kirk & Co. to conduct an evaluation of our Project and Environmental Review Process.
The work included reviewing its legal and policy framework, assessing the current review process, researching best practices from other comparable review processes, and conducting a series of interviews with local governments, agencies, tenants/project proponents, and Port Metro Vancouver staff.
The consultants concluded that while Port Metro Vancouver’s Project Review Process results in sound, robust decisions when issuing project permits and conducting environmental reviews, there are many areas where the process can be improved.
In total, 23 recommendations were made relating to the following topics or subject areas:
-Set overarching commitments and principles at executive level
– Comprehensive application guide
– Internal guidance materials
-Communication of mandate
– Categories of review
– Information requirements
-Scope of assessment
-Allowance for (limited) changes in projects
-Consistency in decision drafting
– Aboriginal consultation
– Designated project review lead
– Organizational structure and reporting
– Fee review
– Internal project review
– External project review advisory committee
– Compliance monitoring
– Performance management
– Continuous improvement
Port Metro Vancouver said it supports the recommendations provided by the consultants, and in order to bring about this renewal and changes in this process, has created a project team to lead this initiative.