Westham Island Canoe Pass Tidal Marsh Project

About the project

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is advancing the proposed Westham Island Canoe Pass Tidal Marsh Project as a potential fish habitat offsetting site for the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) Project.

This proposed project would be located in Canoe Pass, near the south side of Westham Island, in Delta. It would expand an existing marsh area by converting an adjacent unvegetated, low-value intertidal sandflat and mudflat into approximately four hectares of high-quality marsh habitat. The site was selected based on its potential to benefit a broad range of fish and wildlife species, and to increase the overall ecological function of the area. Tidal marshes are essential habitats for estuarine-rearing juvenile salmon, which helps sustain Pacific salmon stocks.

The port authority will continue to engage with all levels of government, regulators, Indigenous groups and adjacent communities, through project development.

Current state at low tide, looking east.

Project status

The proposed Westham Island Canoe Pass Tidal Marsh Project is currently in the permitting and approvals stage.

In 2013, the BC Environmental Assessment Office granted the port authority an exemption from requiring a provincial environmental assessment certificate for the proposed project. Projects can be exempted from provincial environmental assessment if they are unlikely to result in significant adverse environmental, social, economic health or heritage effects. Further information is available on the BC Environmental Assessment Office webpage.

As the proposed offsetting project is located on provincial land, it requires the port authority to obtain land tenure from the province. The ministry of forests is reviewing the land tenure application submitted by the port authority in 2014.

The port authority continues to work with other stakeholders to respond to questions around adjacent land use such as project compatibility with conservation aspirations for the area. The port authority views the offsetting project as compatible with the values of environmental protection and enhancement.

The offsetting project would be subject to approval from Fisheries and Oceans Canada as offsetting for the RBT2 Project through the Fisheries Act Authorization process and would require a permit under the port authority’s project and environmental review process.