Canada approves Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project with environmental conditions

Canada approves Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project with environmental conditions

The Canadian government has approved the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project in southern British Columbia, which is expected to increase the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s capacity by at least 50 per cent.

The project involves the construction of a three-berth container terminal near the Fraser river’s mouth, with the terminal’s expansion expected to handle an additional 2.4 million TEU annually.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson stressed the importance of planning ahead to address future demand, stating that Canada’s Pacific Gateway is the most crucial trade corridor in the country.

The expansion is anticipated to be completed in around six years, subject to 370 legally binding conditions that protect marine life and the environment – as reported by Reuters.

These include measures such as installing infrastructure to ensure fish can safely pass, and noise limits to protect killer whales.

The project has been in the works for over a decade, and the port has said that the estimated CAD$2billion ($1.47 billion) cost for construction will be covered through private investment and long-term leases of port facilities and operator fees.

READ: Port of Vancouver advances new terminal project

Despite the legally binding conditions, environmental groups remain skeptical of the project’s approval, worrying that the mitigation measures do not go far enough to protect the environment and endangered species.

Charlotte Dawe with the Wilderness Committee commented that “every single project that’s been approved by the federal government that’s causing extinction was approved based on mitigations, and we’re still in an extinction crisis”, while Kristen Walters with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation claimed that the project goes against Canada’s commitments to halting and reversing biodiversity loss.

READ: Port of Vancouver new terminal project sparks environmental debate

Delta Mayor George Harvie has also expressed his reservations regarding the approval of the port expansion on various grounds, including ecological damage, the necessity for more effective policing to combat smuggling at the port, respecting Indigenous rights, and the traffic impacts.

In a statement, Harvie mentioned that the port expansion has been a long-standing concern for Delta residents. He added that he will continue to work closely with the federal government and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to ensure that the expansion aligns with Delta’s vision.

Last month, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced the completion of the Centerm Expansion Project at the Port of Vancouver, delivered in partnership with terminal operator DP World.

The expansion project is set to increase the terminal’s container handling capacity by two-thirds by increasing the terminal footprint by 15 per cent, from 900,000 to 1.5 million TEU.

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