Friday, October 21, 2016

Environmental concerns for Vancouver Port expansion could be beneficial for Prince Rupert

Plans from the Vancouver Port Authority to expand the container facility at Roberts Banks may be about to  hit a few snags, as an environmental review from Environment Canada has outlined some concerns over the impact of the development on migratory birds making their way to Alaska.

The Port of Vancouver has proposed a 2 billion dollar expansion of the container terminal at Roberts Bank, a project that would double the size of the existing facility, delivering increased throughput through Vancouver, with expectations of 260 more container ship visits should the second facility be built.

The Port of Vancouver has plans to add a second terminal complex to their
Roberts Band Container Facility near Tsawwassen

(Photo from Port of Vancouver website)

To see the project through however will require the construction of an artificial island as the host of the site and an expanded causeway for the surge in trucks that would be required to service the port.

Last week, Environment Canada issued some cautionary notes related to the proposed development in a submission from October 14th. Along with the Environment Canada submission, a number of other Federal agencies also provided comments, offering observations and in some cases seeking more background on a number of aspects of the proposed development.

The CEAA is currently considering
a proposal for an expansion of the
Roberts Bank Container Terminal
Health Canada
Natural Resources Canada
Transport Canada
Canadian Coast Guard
Department of Fisheries

As part of the comment period to this point some 591 documents have been submitted related to the project.

The proposed development is currently in the final stages of the public comment period, with the deadline for submissions extended until October 28, 2016.

More background on some of the reaction from the Vancouver area can be reviewed below:

Environment Canada report warns Roberts Bank port expansion could significantly damage bird habitat
B.C. port could have 'adverse effects' on birds headed to Alaska: report

A delay, or outright rejection of Vancouver proposals could set back the Port of Vancouver's expansion ambitions and could also provide one more factor for Prince Rupert officials to look at as they consider the future plans for the Fairview Container facility.

With the current expansion of the container port working towards its Spring 2017 completion date, the Port and DP World have been examining the prospects for taking the container port footprint towards Ridley Island, with a study to conduct further expansion signed back in December of 2015.

June 2016 -- Journal of Commerce features White Paper report on Port of Prince Rupert
January 2016 -- Port Authority heralds jobs and benefits should expansion plans move forward
December 2015 -- Prince Rupert Port Authority and DP World gaze south for potential expansion of Fairview Terminal

It's not the first time that we've noted the theme of land issues in the Vancouver area and how the limited options in the south may provide some benefits for the ambitions in Prince Rupert.

Room to grow in Prince
Rupert could be a key advantage
for future expansion in BC
port facilities

December 2015 -- Vancouver land issues offer opportunities for Prince Rupert to take advantage of

November 2012 -- For some in Delta, there's no better place than Prince Rupert for Container Terminal Expansion

There is some logic for the shipping industry to make a shift away from the Lower Mainland port facilities should another option become available, or if as expected the volume of international shipping between Asia and North America should increase over the next few decades.

Any ongoing push back against the plans for port expansion in the Greater Vancouver area, could see the Port of Prince Rupert push ahead its timeline for development of the highly anticipated expansion plans for south of the current Fairview Terminal site.

More items related to the Port of Prince Rupert can be found on our archive page here.

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