News & Resources

Event recap: Let’s talk RBT2 construction with Kevin Karaloff

October 23, 2020 6:44 pm


On September 23, we invited the local community to hear from Kevin Karaloff, manager, infrastructure delivery at the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Kevin provided an overview of how the construction of the new terminal would proceed.

Because we ran out of time, we weren’t able to answer all of the questions that were raised. We’ve done our best to group these questions into themes and answer them below.

Approvals and timelines

The review phase of the environmental assessment for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project concluded in August 2019. Recently, the federal minister of environment and climate change requested additional information from us on a variety of topics. We are working to provide this information to government next year and are hopeful that a decision can be made soon after.

In the meantime, important work continues to ensure we are able to quickly advance the project, if approved. This includes preparing for procurement and various regulatory permits, such as a Fisheries Act Authorization. The project will be funded by the port authority and private investment, not tax dollars, and is subject to a final investment decision by the port authority.

Details of construction

Should the project proceed, construction will take about six years to complete.

The first three years of construction will include creating the new land mass needed for the terminal and widening the causeway. Containment dikes will be built and dredging will take place. Other activities, such as the expansion of the tug basin and the construction of various onsite habitat features, will also be underway.

Over the next three years, construction activities will include completing the wharf area, installing underground utilities and building the terminal infrastructure. This includes an overpass and other road and rail works, terminal buildings and terminal pavement. A full description of the construction activities is available in the project construction update.

Reducing effects on communities and the environment during construction

In developing the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project, we researched many possible locations for the new terminal. We settled on the proposed location because it will have the least impact on the environment and local communities because it is located in deep, subtidal waters, away from sensitive intertidal habitats that support biofilm, shorebirds, juvenile salmon and other important marine species.

During construction, a number of mitigation measures will be implemented to reduce environmental effects and impacts to local communities, for example:

  • Avoiding certain in-water work during times of the year when important species like juvenile salmon and southern resident killer whales are present at Roberts Bank
  • Implementing air quality standards for construction equipment
  • Limiting vehicle movements and idling in order to reduce GHG emissions

Rail infrastructure and regional capacity

If the project is approved, we expect that four additional trains will serve Roberts Bank each day. Investments in the transportation infrastructure serving Roberts Bank were made years ago. This included the construction of the South Fraser Perimeter Road and the Roberts Bank Rail Corridor Program to make rail and port operations more efficient, accommodate anticipated growth in rail and road traffic, and reduce impacts of port activity on local residents.

Since then, we have been actively investing in initiatives through the Gateway Transportation Collaboration Forum to continue to improve traffic flow and reduce traffic-related impacts from port activities throughout the region. There are currently 10 road and rail improvement projects underway which, when completed, will reduce transportation bottlenecks, increase trade efficiency, and ultimately improve safety for local communities.

Thanks again to those that attended the presentation on September 23—we hope to see you again soon!

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