New West residents concerned about soil, gravel facilities proposed for port property

Summit Earthworks seeking approval for contaminated soil transfer facility and gravel storage facility

Queensborough residents are concerned about a pair of proposals for a Port of Vancouver property that include gravel storage and contaminated soil transfer.

The Queensborough Residents’ Association (QRA) will be holding a town hall-style event on Monday, Aug. 12 to talk about the Salter Street gravel facility and Derwent Way soil transfer facility, both proposed by Summit Earthworks.

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The proposals are currently being considered by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, which includes a “stringent environmental review process at the Port,” according to an email statement from Summit Earthworks general manager Steve Rosell.

The project was proposed in December 2016, and has since undergone public and Indigenous consultations, along with the environmental review.

The pair of projects would see numerous daily deliveries of gravel to one facility and deliveries of contaminated soil to the other facility.

The gravel would ultimately be used in construction projects, and the facility would also store construction equipment like excavators and backhoes.

The contaminated soil – which would be at “contaminated levels less than BC Hazardous Waste Regulations criteria,” according to the Port of Vancouver website – would then be shipped by barge to Mission.

The QRA has posed concerns about the contaminated soils, including whether any invasive species could make their way into the surrounding area and whether any contaminants may elude testing.

However, Rosell said the facility would only take soil with “thorough representative analytical data,” and that it would be reviewed by an environmental professional to ensure compliance with regulations. He added that any invasive species would be handled in accordance with provincial best practices.

The residents’ association also says it has concerns about the volume of large trucks flowing through the area, largely from the gravel storage project.

The QRA estimated the deliveries, could see about 130 truck movements in and out of the facilities – including 120 from the gravel facility – adding up to more than 13 trucks per hour.

But that estimation comes from a traffic impact assessment, which Summit Earthworks officials suggested was the maximum capacity, and does not reflect what would be a realistic impact.

Rosell said the operation would likely see more like 20 per 30 loads in and out each day, rather than the 60 in and out every day suggested in the assessment. That would add up to less than eight deliveries per hour at most and an average of about three loads per hour, he said.

Summit Earthworks is currently in conversations with First Nations, the port and the city, Rosell said, and further public consultations are expected in the fall.

Monday’s town hall session with the QRA is scheduled from 7-9 p.m. at the Queensborough Community Centre’s Poplar Island room. Attendees are asked to RSVP to qbresidents@yahoo.ca.

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