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Delta port expansion now going through next approval process

The port says the Canada’s container trade remains on a long-term growth trajectory, with west coast marine container terminals forecast to hit capacity by the mid- to late-2020s.
The EAO notes that the draft assessment materials include the Summary Assessment Report, proposed provincial conditions to be required if an Environmental Assessment Certificate is issued, and the Certified Project Description. VFPA image

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s (VFPA) planned Roberts Bank Terminal 2 (RBT2) project still must clear the provincial environmental approval process.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has opened a public comment period on the project’s draft assessment materials. The comment period closes on June 8.

“The assessment was carried out through a federally appointed panel. Both levels of government use this assessment, along with additional information requests and consultation with Indigenous Nations, to base their decisions about whether or not to approve the project to proceed. The federal government recently made a decision to approve the project, but it also requires provincial approval,” the EAO explains.

“The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) has principally relied on the federal panel’s findings to develop materials to support provincial ministers in making their own independent decision on if the project is in the best interests of British Columbia.”

The EAO says it is seeking feedback on the drafts of the materials before sending them to provincial ministers for a decision.

After a lengthy and complex process that started even before the port formally submitted its application a decade ago, the federal government last month gave the green light for a new three-berth container terminal adjacent to the current port facility at Roberts Bank in Delta.

The approval comes with a lengthy list of conditions.

Built on a new man-made island adjacent to the current Deltaport container facility, RBT2 would provide a 50 per cent increase to the port’s container capacity, providing 2.4 million TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units) of additional capacity annually.

The project still requires other approvals.

During an April 27 news conference in Tilbury, a question on RBT2 was posed to the B.C. Premier, who said supply chain snarls are evident, and economic development to alleviate the problem can be supported with environmental protections in place.