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Port authority reaches another milestone on the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project with submission of information request response

December 15, 2021 2:39 pm

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has reached another significant milestone in the development of the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project. After more than a year of additional technical work, consultation with 46 Indigenous groups, and engagement with federal agencies, we recently submitted our response to the minister of environment and climate change’s August 2020 information request.  

Our response

In August 2020, the minister of environment and climate change requested we provide further information on several topics to help the federal government make an informed decision on the project, putting a pause on the federal timeline for decision making.  

To respond to this information request over the last year, we undertook a holistic analysis of mitigation measures to avoid, reduce, and offset potential project-related effects. Our response includes over 2,500 pages of new information on topics like enhanced measures to protect key species like juvenile salmon and southern resident killer whales, as well as project benefits and our offsetting plan. With contributions from over 50 experts, we incorporated new science, federal agency expertise, and Indigenous knowledge and input throughout our response. This included conducting over 200 one-on-one meetings with Indigenous groups, organizing 16 multi-group workshops to consult on our response, and adapting our approach to support each Indigenous group’s interests and preferred ways of participating. This work is a legacy of the project—we are advancing science on a variety of topics and have made significant contributions to increasing the body of knowledge about the Roberts Bank ecosystem. 

We remain confident that the project can be built in a way that upholds our federal mandate to protect the environment and consider local communities while enabling Canada’s trade through the Port of Vancouver. This aligns with our vision for the Port of Vancouver to be the world’s most sustainable port. 

Response highlights:

  • Committing to the creation of 86 hectares of offsetting habitat, developed in collaboration with Indigenous groups, to support key species of interest such as Chinook salmon and Dungeness crab – this is nearly three times the amount initially proposed in our environmental impact statement  
  • Additional mitigation measures related to juvenile salmon, including a reduction in the footprint and modifications to the project design to facilitate fish passage  
  • Additional mitigation measures related to southern resident killer whales to increase confidence that the project will not jeopardize the survival or recovery of the species, plus the development of a marine shipping follow-up program element 
  • Updated analysis confirming that the project will bring tens of thousands of well-paying, family-supporting jobs in addition to supporting economic growth for Canadians, British Columbians, and communities of Metro Vancouver 
  • Advancement of a biofilm habitat guidance creation manual and biofilm creation project, as part of our efforts to advance the body of scientific knowledge on biofilm ecology


Urgent need for Roberts Bank Terminal 2

The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is a critical investment in marine-side port infrastructure on the west coast of Canada to support Canadian trade.  

As several years of forecasts predict and increasing volumes demonstrate, additional container terminal capacity is urgently needed at the Port of Vancouver to ensure Canada’s supply chain can continue to move goods efficiently and reliably. Once west coast container capacity is exhausted—forecasted as early as 2025—Canadian importers and exporters will likely need to ship goods to and from Canada via U.S. ports, increasing costs and reducing benefits to the Canadian economy. The congestion experienced during the pandemic will likely also become a regular occurrence. This would have a lasting impact on local communities (due to factors like truck and train congestion), the competitiveness of Canada’s largest port, and our ability to serve the needs of Canadians and our trading partners.  

The project has been in development for over a decade, including 11 years of technical and environmental study, consultation with 46 Indigenous groups, and public and stakeholder engagement. In 2013, we embarked on an environmental assessment process that included a review by a federally-appointed independent review panel, the most stringent form of federal environmental assessment. The results of our work demonstrate that the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project can be built in a responsible way that protects and enhances the environment, brings lasting benefits to Indigenous groups and local communities, create tens of thousands of high-paying supply chain jobs, and supports economic resiliency. 

Next steps

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC) has published our information request response on the public registry, along with the draft conditions that the port authority must comply with should the project proceed. IAAC is now seeking feedback on this information from the public, Indigenous groups, regulators, and other stakeholders. Visit the public registry to view our response and participate in the public comment period.  

We are hopeful that a decision on the project can be made as quickly as possible to make sure the project is built in time to support Canadian importers and exporters who rely on the Port of Vancouver to get their goods to and from foreign markets. 

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