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I am opposed to any further port expansion on Roberts Bank.

The GCT Deltaport Berth 4 project is yet another port expansion in the area of one of the most important ecosystems in Canada. Roberts Bank is a major part of the wetlands of the Fraser Delta, frequented by marine mammals, including endangered orcas, and providing feeding habitat for hundreds of thousands of migratory shorebirds and waterfowl, as well as hundreds of resident herons. It provides critical wintering grounds for the highest number of waterfowl and shorebirds found anywhere in Canada.

Roberts Bank is recognized nationally and internationally for its environmental importance. It is:

  • Adjacent to a UN designated “Wetland of International Importance” under the UN Ramsar Convention.
  • A Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network Site of International Importance, designated as the “Jewel of the Pacific Flyway”. The proposed development is right in the middle of one of the most important stops for migratory birds.
  • Designated by Birdlife International as an Important Bird Area (IBA). Birdlife International classifies this as an IBA in danger due to the current environmental degradation from port and infrastructure development and resultant adverse environmental effects on wildlife.
  • A BC Wildlife Management Area, recognized for providing critical wintering grounds for the highest number of waterfowl and shorebirds found anywhere in Canada.

The Roberts Bank wetlands and its biofilm are a critical food source for millions of birds, fishes and other wildlife. Roberts Bank is a critical stopover on the Pacific Flyway for millions of migrating shorebirds on their way to and from their arctic breeding grounds Shorebirds, especially Western Sandpipers, and other wildlife feed on the rich biofilm that is present on Roberts Bank and provides them with nutrients essential to their health.   The project as envisaged will cover over an area of biofilm that shorebirds access today and further disrupt their feeding patterns. The addition of a fourth berth to Deltaport will result in further significant adverse environmental effects to wildlife that cannot be mitigated.

Why is any further expansion necessary or justified on Roberts Bank or indeed anywhere within the jurisdiction of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority?

A 2008 federal government study:  ASIA PACIFIC GATEWAY AND CORRIDOR INITIATIVE, REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS, commissioned by then Minister of International Trade, David Emerson recommended that “…policy makers develop container capacity in Prince Rupert before making investments in Vancouver, beyond what have been announced to date”.

Such recommendations have been consistently ignored and as a result more and more container traffic has been funnelled through Vancouver to the point that the port facilities and the southern trade corridor through the Fraser Canyon are congested and negatively impacting other export traffic. Furthermore the BC wildfires and floods have exposed the fragility of the road and rail networks linking BC with the rest of Canada. It is clear that this southern trade route will continue to be exposed to delays from such events going forward.

It is finally time to put an end to container terminal expansions in Vancouver. Prince Rupert, two sailing days closer to Asia with a less congested faster, easier rail route into Eastern Canada and the US, is well positioned to provide all the container trade capacity that Canada needs for decades to come. The Port Authority and its terminal operator are already expanding the container terminal facilities and are ready to add up to 6 million in container (TEUs – twenty foot equivalents) capacity to the port’s current capacity. This obviates the need for any further container terminal expansion in Vancouver and contributes to saving the environment, wildlife, human health and social well-being from any further degradation that will occur if further container terminal expansions are allowed in the Vancouver area.

Submitted by
Roger Emsley
Public Notice
Public Notice: Public Comment Period & Virtual Information Sessions (Updated November 23, 2021)
  • Commentary on the Draft Joint Guidelines for.pdf (53.2 KB)
  • Date Submitted
    2022-01-02 - 6:44 PM
    Date modified: