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Delta-Richmond chapter hopeful about ‘potential death blow’ to Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project

In April 2015, the Council of Canadians Delta-Richmond chapter joined with Against Port Expansion and others to witness the migration stopover of western sandpipers on Roberts Bank.

The Council of Canadians Delta-Richmond chapter has campaigned for 6+ years against the proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.

The proponent’s website notes, “The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project is a proposed new three-berth container terminal at Roberts Bank in Delta, B.C., on Canada’s west coast. The Project would provide 2.4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of container capacity and is needed to meet forecasted demand for trade of goods in containers.”

Roberts Bank is an undersea bank on the south side of the estuary of the Fraser River approximately 35 kilometers south of Vancouver.

The Vancouver Sun now reports, “[Environment and Climate Change Canada officials] have struck a potential death blow to the Port of Vancouver’s $2-billion container expansion in South Delta, saying the risks to a significant migratory population of western sandpipers are simply too great for the project to proceed.”

The western sandpiper is a small shorebird whose breeding habitat is in eastern Siberia and Alaska that migrates to both coasts of North America and South America.

The article highlights,”A written response from Environment and Climate Change Canada to the Canadian Environment Assessment Agency describes the predicted impact of the [project] on hundreds of thousands of sandpipers as ‘potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous’. …A total of 23 species of wildlife listed under the federal Species at Risk Act, or by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, are known to exist within the project area and related marine-shipping area.”

Chapter activist Bob Ages has explained, “The western sandpipers winter in South and Central America and return to the far north to breed in the summer depend on the biofilm of this shoreline of the Fraser Delta to fuel the next long leg of their journey. The entire species, as well as juvenile salmon, the southern resident Orca pods and many other species are threatened by the massive expansion plans of Port Metro Vancouver.”

The proponent’s website notes that the project is undergoing a federal environmental assessment and that subject to regulatory approvals and permits, market conditions and a final investment decision, construction would begin in 2018.

Our ally Roger Emsley at Against Port Expansion says, “If it were a torpedo, I’d say the … port has been holed below the water line. …Environment Canada has come out with a definitive statement that should stop this project in its tracks.”

Public hearings on the project are expected to begin in a few months.