Land management and contaminated sites

As stewards of the Port of Vancouver, we ensure port lands and waters are maintained to environmental standards that meet federal or provincial environmental standards. Our oversight of federal lands includes managing and remediating contaminated sites to make sure they are ready for marine terminals and other facilities. We require port tenants to maintain compliance with lease requirements, including those that protect the port lands and waters from contamination.

Port tenants are required to complete an environmental site assessment as part of the start or end of their tenancy. An environmental site assessment provides a thorough overview of the condition of a site and if there are any areas of concern such as contaminated soil or water that may need to be cleaned up. Our approach is outlined in our environmental assessment guidance document, which provides details of our environmental standards and expectations for any site assessment submitted to the port authority.

Industrial activities on Port of Vancouver lands can sometimes result in hazardous substances or materials being stored and handled improperly or accidently spilled. Port tenants are required to inform the port authority immediately if there is any site contamination.

We manage contaminated sites very carefully. We keep a list, or inventory, of sites that may need remediation or are actively being remediated. We have a good understanding of the nature and extent of contamination on our properties and we work to mitigate and prevent ecological and human exposure.

The port authority works within the federal and provincial “polluter pays” principle, where the original polluter is the responsible party. Where historical contamination has occurred and the original polluter is no longer available or financially capable of remediating the site, the port authority will undertake the work ourselves, or will work closely with the current tenant or prospective tenant to address and support clean-up efforts or site management.

Regardless of the extent of the contamination or the estimated time to remediate, we ensure sites meet federal or provincial environmental standards.