October 30, 2006

Vancouver Port Authority's Deltaport expansion granted EA approval subject to over 150 conditions

The Vancouver Port Authority has received a provincial environmental assessment (EA) certificate for the proposed expansion of its existing container terminal at Roberts Bank. The $272-million project calls for a 427-metre extension of the existing wharf structure to accommodate a third container ship, plus expansion of the container operating and storage area.

The expansion would increase the footprint of the existing Deltaport terminal by approximately 30% and would involve: construction and operation of concrete wharf structures; placement of fill to accommodate the new terminal area; installation of container operational equipment such as gantry cranes; dredging of a new tug basin and a ship turning basin; new rails at the upland Gulf siding, within the existing right-of-way and without widening the existing causeway; and a $3-million upgrade of Highway 17 in Ladner.

The EA certificate was granted following a comprehensive review by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) that began in March 2003. The project also triggered a Comprehensive Study Review (CSR) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada as the federal responsible authorities. The provincial and federal EA processes have been harmonized in accordance with the Canada-BC Agreement for Environmental Assessment Co-operation.

The provincial environmental certificate sets out more than 150 terms and conditions to be met by the proponent in the course of the project. Some key commitments to protect the environment include:

*implementation of a habitat compensation plan to establish new (or enhance existing) fish and bird habitat, including monitoring to assess the performance of the compensation habitat designs;

*development of an ddaptive management strategy for the Roberts Bank inter-causeway area to monitor ecosystem trends with respect to eutrophication, water quality, and flora and fauna within the marine environment;

*development and adherence to a construction phase environmental management plan to address dredging, surface water quality and sediment control, hazardous waste management, noise, wildlife and vegetation impacts, marine environment, marine water quality and air quality impacts;

*reduction of the project footprint from 32 hectares to approximately 22 hectares, together with reduction of the overall marine dredging footprint;

*implementation of air quality initiatives to help reduce emissions;

*conducting of a feasibility study for shore-based power; and

*changing of the lighting configuration to minimize trespass light during dredging and operations.

With the EA certificate in hand, the Port Authority still has to obtain other provincial and federal permits and authorizations. In addition, a decision by the federal Environment Minister is required before the project can proceed.

The project capital cost is approximately $272 million, and it will create approximately 640 person-years of employment during the construction phase and 360 permanent jobs during its operation.

More information on the Environmental Certificate can be found at www.eao.gov.bc.ca.

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