The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s comments on the federal review panel report for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project
We would like to thank the review panel for conducting a thorough and comprehensive review, and express our appreciation to all of the participants who were involved in the environmental assessment. We would also like to thank the panel for their acknowledgement of the professional and respectful participation by the port authority and its team during the panel process.
We are pleased with the review panel’s findings and recommendations and believe the panel has provided us with a road map as to how, on top of our existing proposed mitigation measures, we can further mitigate project related effects. We are committed to working with government, Indigenous groups and other stakeholders to implement these very important recommendations.
As is normal with such assessments, review panels study the effects of a project and provide recommendations for how they should be mitigated. We acknowledge the panel’s conclusions that the project would have effects on areas such as southern resident killer whales, juvenile Chinook salmon and certain Indigenous practices and interests. This is not something we take lightly — we have a federal mandate to protect the environment and consider local communities, and we want to build this project in a way that upholds that mandate and aligns with our vision to be the world’s most sustainable port.
Our commitment to the environment extends to regional programs separate from what is proposed for the project. For example, for half a decade, we have led the Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation (ECHO) Program, alongside the marine transportation industry, government, Indigenous individuals, environmental groups, and scientists, to study and reduce the effects of marine shipping on at-risk whales in our region. To date the ECHO Program’s primary focus has been on reducing underwater noise from marine shipping, as acoustic disturbance is one of the identified threats to southern resident killer whales (SRKW). Other key threats to SRKW, identified by Fisheries and Oceans, include prey availability, physical disturbance and environmental contaminants.
The progress that we have seen from the ECHO Program has encouraged us to look at project-specific initiatives we could put in place, in collaboration with Indigenous groups and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, that would help support the recovery of SRKW. We believe that a project-specific initiative that focuses on the recovery of Chinook salmon stocks, a key food source for SRKW, could help address the lack of prey available to this iconic species. For the past few months, we have worked with Indigenous groups and regulators to explore what this new important collaborative initiative could look like. We look forward to continuing these discussions.
As Canada’s west coast braces for a container capacity crunch, the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is of paramount value to Canada’s trade; to Canadians who count on that trade to access consumer goods that enable our standard of living; and to Canadian farmers and many other businesses across this country, who depend on the Port of Vancouver to access global markets.
The panel agreed with our assessment that the location of this project is the best possible option to meet the anticipated demand for trade with Asia, and that the purpose of the project is consistent with Canada’s role as a trading nation. The benefits of the project would extend to the City of Delta, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada because of the employment, business opportunities and economic development resulting from the project.
The project would inject more than $2 billion in capital investment into the economy and would create over 12,000 construction jobs, and over 12,000 direct and indirect operating jobs. It would mean a significant contribution to the local, regional and national economies, as well as Indigenous communities, in addition to those Indigenous groups who have entered into Mutual Benefits Agreements with the port authority.
We are proud of the work that has been undertaken so far and we look forward to receiving the federal government’s decision on the project.
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