Completion of Fraser River cleanup program improved local waterways, environment, and wildlife habitat
Port authority’s Fraser River Improvement Initiative addressed 151 sites with derelict vessels and structures
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority announced today the completion of its Fraser River Improvement Initiative – a two million dollar, five-year program that began in 2013 to clean up municipal waterways and shipping channels from derelict boats and structures along the Fraser River.
“As a Canada Port Authority, our role is to keep waterways safe for all port users and mitigate the impact of port activities on the surrounding communities,” said Tom Corsie, vice president, real estate of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “Through our Fraser River Improvement Initiative, we have invested significant resources to address a number of sites that were an environmental or navigational hazard on the river and impacted local quality of life.”
Derelict structures like old docks and abandoned boats pose a risk to public safety and the environment. They can harm surrounding wildlife and habitat by leaching out toxic chemicals such as fuel, oil and paint, smother and destroy environmentally sensitive habitats, and lower the quality of life for residents of surrounding communities.
The port authority identified priority sites for the Fraser River Improvement Initiative by completing a risk assessment of all derelict sites. This involved determining the likelihood and severity of the potential impact on the environment, communities and navigation.
Work on the more than 150 identified sites began with attempts to contact owners and, where possible, work with them to ensure safe removal of structures or boats.
“We are committed to delivering our federal mandate to provide a high level of safety and environmental protection in the Port of Vancouver,” continued Corsie. “Ultimately, we want to ensure that current and future generations of Canadians enjoy the benefits of trade, an improved quality of life, and a healthy and vibrant ecosystem, and the completion of this important initiative is one of the ways we are working towards this.”
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s vision is to be the world’s most sustainable port. The federal agency is responsible for overseeing the Port of Vancouver and is recognized globally as a leader in environmental stewardship. The port authority leads a number of initiatives to protect the lands and waters within its jurisdiction. Some examples of these programs and initiatives include:
- For more than 20 years, the port authority has been proactively building local habitat through its Habitat Enhancement Program, an initiative focused on creating, restoring and improving the viability and sustainability of fish and wildlife habitat.
- With participation from the port community, the port authority delivered a port-wide emissions inventory to track port emissions and help develop solutions to reduce them.
- The Port of Vancouver was the first port in Canada with stringent environmental requirements for container drayage trucks to reduce air emissions, implemented by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority in 2008.
- Since January 1, 2015, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has administered its Non-Road Diesel Emissions program to reduce diesel particulate matter emissions associated with terminal equipment.
- On January 1, 2017, the port authority added new incentive criteria to its existing EcoAction program to include discounts on harbour dues for quieter ships – making Canada the first country in the world with a marine noise reduction incentive.
- The port authority leads the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation Program (ECHO), a research program to better understand and manage the impacts of shipping on at-risk whales. In 2018, the ECHO program was the recipient of a Lloyd’s List Environmental Award last year for the contributions to reducing pollution in the marine environment.
For more information:
- Background on Fraser River Improvement Initiative
- VIDEO: People of the Port: Fraser River Cleanup
- VIDEO: Cleaning up the Fraser River – Port of Vancouver Stories
- How the port authority manages derelict vessels
- Vancouver Fraser Port Authority sustainability report
About Vancouver Fraser Port Authority
The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is responsible for the stewardship of the federal port lands in and around Vancouver, British Columbia. It is financially self-sufficient and accountable to the federal minister of transport and operates pursuant to the Canada Marine Act. The Port of Vancouver is Canada’s largest, and the third largest in North America by tonnes of cargo, facilitating trade between Canada and more than 170 world economies. Located in a naturally beautiful setting on Canada’s west coast, the port authority and port terminals and tenants are responsible for the efficient and reliable movement of goods and passengers, integrating environmental, social and economic sustainability initiatives into all areas of port operations. Enabling the trade of approximately $200 billion in goods, port activities sustain 115,300 jobs, $7 billion in wages, and $11.9 billion in GDP across Canada.
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