By R. Bruce Striegler

Port Metro Vancouver is North America’s gateway to the world’s most dynamic eco­no­mies. Through its mandate to facilitate the movement of goods in the best interest of the country, the Port continues to plan for growth. In the last 40 years, Canada’s population grew by 60 per cent to more than 33 million people. In that same period, trade volume handled by the Port quadrupled.

Last year, the Port completed Port 2050, a long-term visioning process that engaged customers and stakeholders in creating a strategic vision for a shared future. Port 2050 centered on two questions: What will Port Metro Vancouver look like in the next 20 to 40 years? What does sustainable growth for the gateway and its stakeholders look like? Duncan Wilson, Port Metro Vancouver’s Vice-President of Corporate Social Responsibility explains that a sustainable Port requires long-term thinking. “The vision process helped us understand, anticipate and prepare for changing global social and economic environments.”

The Port’s strategic vision and mission statements were also revised during the Port 2050 process to help guide business priorities and shape new initiatives.

Robin Silvester, President and CEO of Port Metro Vancouver, explains that the Port 2050 process is an overarching framework for the Port moving forward. “As one of the first steps towards implementing the Port 2050 strategic vision, we are embarking on a two-year process to update our Land Use Plan.”

The new updated plan will guide the physical development of the Port, provide direction to Port staff when reviewing development proposals by Port tenants and assist those tenants in identifying areas to locate or expand their operations and investments. In addition, the new plan will help coordinate land use and transportation planning with external agencies, as well as offer greater clarity about activities and uses that may occur on Port lands.

Extensive public consultation

When finalized in 2013, the new land use plan will articulate the Port’s policies on land use and development, and identify the types of uses appropriate on land and water across its jurisdiction. Silvester says that the review is a comprehensive and highly consultative process. “We want to involve our stakeholders and communities throughout the Lower Mainland. We want to hear different voices to get a sense of the opportunities and concerns about the way the Port could develop.”

In the first phase, Port Metro Vancouver conducted a thorough set of consultations, with 100 different organizations represented, including 180 individuals involved in five different planning workshops, three public open houses and two First Nations workshops. Consultation has also included industrial, municipal, federal and provincial bodies.

Next steps

The next phase of the process is to examine the issues brought forward and begin to develop draft goals, objectives and policies. Later this year, Port Metro Vancouver will go back to its stakeholders for further consultations and discussions based on the initial feedback and draft policies. The process will continue through next year with further refinements and will culminate in final policies and land use designations by the end of 2013.

Silvester is pleased with the broad scope of the review to date. “This is really about setting out the framework within which we use our lands and develop our lands going forward, and how we match that with the needs and concerns of the local communities.” The updated land use plan will help answer how the Port can meet its mandate and facilitate the needs of Canada’s trading capabilities. “With this comprehensive dialogue, we want to find the best solutions and best answers.”