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B.C. gives green light to Roberts Bank terminal expansion

B.C. government says ditto to federal environmental certificate for $3.5 billion terminal expansion
Deltaport expansion would increase container handling capacity by 30 per cent for the West Coast of Canada. | Chung Chow

Nearly a decade after it entered the environmental review process, Roberts Bank Terminal 2 in Delta has been given the green light by B.C.’s ministers of Environment and Transportation.

The provincial environmental assessment certificate was issued for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's terminal expansion project today several months after the federal government issued its own environmental certificate.

The $3.5 billion Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion project is a proposed three-berth marine container terminal. It will require widening the existing causeway to accommodate additional rail, road and utilities and expanded tug-boat basin.

The environmental assessment for the project was conducted by a federal review panel on behalf of both levels of government. It was first referred to the BC Environmental Assessment Office in 2014.

The B.C. certificate comes with16 legally enforceable conditions, including:

· a wetlands management plan to reduce negative impacts on wetlands;

· a land vegetation and wildlife management plan to reduce negative impacts on land-based plants and animals;

· environmental management plans for construction and operations to reduce noise and vibration and plan for emergency response and spill prevention; and

· a greenhouse-gas reduction plan for emissions, including net-zero by 2050.

“While two parties are seeking judicial review of the federal decision to approve the project, the ministers determined not to delay issuing the provincial certificate to ensure the project was not advanced without provincial interests within provincial jurisdiction being addressed and effects being mitigated within their ability to do so through certificate conditions,” the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy said in a news release.

The terminal expansion plan includes doubling the footprint of the current 85-hectare Deltaport container terminal with offshore landfill.

In terms of container capacity, the expanded terminal would add an estimated 2.4 million 20-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) for the Port of Vancouver. That would increase the overall container capacity on Canada’s West Coast by 30 per cent.  

-- With files from Timothy Renshaw