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e-2828 (Environment)

E-petition
Initiated by Roger Emsley from Delta, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

Whereas:
  • Vancouver Fraser Port Authority wants to build another container terminal on Roberts Bank, Delta B.C. in the Fraser River estuary, requiring a new man-made island the size of 150 football fields, plus expansion of an existing causeway and enlarged tug basin;
  • Roberts Bank is an ecologically productive, sensitive area on the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds, adjacent to an internationally recognized site of wetlands importance and critical habitat for the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales;
  • Large salmon runs migrate through Roberts Bank;
  • It is adjacent to the Tsawwassen First Nation, close to the Tsawwassen and Ladner communities with more than 50,000 residents;
  • It infringes upon aboriginal and treaty rights;
  • The $3.5 billion projected cost makes it the most expensive container terminal anywhere;
  • BC’s West Coast terminals currently have capacity to handle over 6 million containers per year. Planned expansions will add millions more, providing capacities exceeding 10 million containers by 2030, enough for Canada’s trading needs for many years; and
  • The federally appointed environmental assessment panel’s March 2020 report noted numerous adverse residual and cumulative effects, insufficient compensation in its offsetting plan and significant adverse and cumulative effects on wetlands and wetland functions.
We, the undersigned, concerned citizens and residents of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Maintain the environmental integrity of the Roberts Bank ecosystem;
2. Protect the Pacific Flyway and its Roberts Bank migration stopover, critical to Western Sandpipers and millions of other shorebirds;
3. Protect endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales, Great Blue Herons, and other wildlife that rely on Roberts Bank; and
4. Deny approval of the Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 Project.

Response by the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): The Honourable JONATHAN WILKINSON

Thank you for your petition dated December 9, 2020, regarding the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project (the Project).

As you are aware, the Project is subject to an environmental assessment under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA?2012). The assessment was conducted by an independent expert Review Panel (the Panel). The Panel completed its review of the Project and issued its report on March 27, 2020.

As part of its review, the Panel considered the potential environmental effects of the Project, including how marine shipping would impact the area, as well as potential effects on birds, orcas and salmon, and cumulative effects that are likely to result from the Project. Furthermore, the Panel reviewed the Project’s potential economic, social and health effects.

After considering the Panel’s Report and consulting with expert federal departments, the Minister determined that additional information is required from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (the Proponent) to inform the Minister’s decisions on whether the Project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

The Port Authority must provide additional information related to effects to Indigenous peoples, as well as to biofilm, migratory birds, fish and fish habitat, and Southern Resident Killer Whales.

This information request pauses the federal timeline for decision-making.

Once the Minister is satisfied that the requested information has been provided, the federal timeline will resume. The Port Authority’s responses to the information request will be posted to the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) will then host a public comment period and seek input on the Port?Authority’s responses. Additionally, the Agency will post the draft potential conditions online—a document outlining conditions that the Proponent must comply with to move forward with the Project. The public will be invited to submit comments on this document as well.

The next step will be for the Minister to make decisions on the significance of effects under CEAA 2012. The decisions will be based on science, facts and evidence, and informed by meaningful Indigenous consultation.

 

Open for signature
September 3, 2020, at 3:15 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
December 2, 2020, at 3:15 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
December 9, 2020 (Petition No. 432-00377)
Government response tabled
January 25, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Nanaimo—Ladysmith
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia
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