Roberts Bank Terminal Two

Roberts Bank Terminal Two

Submitted by Bev Ramey

Please contact your MP to express concern about RBT2Personal Letters to your MP really do carry weight. Find their address at parliament website

Comments can be submitted to Impact Assessment Agency of Canada from the following link:

On that website, you will need to log-in to submit your comments. You can register to create a log-in. The deadline to submit comments is March 15, 2022.  

You can read comments already posted from:

February 9, 2022 Update:

An excellent letter was posted today on the IAAC (Impact Assessment Agency of Canada) website. This letter is signed by 12 scientists (Canadian, US and international with study areas that include the Fraser River Estuary, salmon, and/or Southern Resident Killer Whales) and is also signed by 16 supporting experts on transboundary species. The letter emphasizes several passages in the March 2020 Federal Review Panel’s report, with its conclusion that the expansion “would have significant adverse and cumulative effects. . .  due to the proposal’s habitat-footprint and the migration disruption of out-migrating juvenile salmon caused by the terminal’s placement”. The letter focusses on the transboundary species-at-risk: Chinook salmon and Southern Resident Killer Whales. The letter also draws attention to the underwater noise increases that would result from additional shipping and describes the results from several studies which have shown there is a lack of quantified evidence that mitigation / compensation does offset negative effects on habitat: “There is currently no proven offsetting known to mitigate the effects of Roberts Bank Terminal 2 to species at-risk.” The letter highlights: If the recovery of Canada’s endangered and iconic wildlife is a priority for the government of Canada, as stated, then it must reject the proposed Terminal 2 project.

The letter has lots of great information to help write your submission to the IAAC. THANKS to all who have done so – it is really impressive the numbers of submissions that have been made! And as a result, the IAAC has extended its deadline to submit by a month (and MP Dick Cannings asked for this in Parliament a couple of days ago). The new deadline to submit is March 15, 2022. The scientists’ etter also includes lots of great information to help you draft your personal letter to the Federal Ministers, as suggested in last week’s blog.

Feb 3, 2022 Update

Here is a link to a document that was written by ECCC scientists but was never presented to the review panel. EEEC has not explained why it was withheld.

Also see a news item in The Indo-Canadian Voice about Dick Cannings, Member of Parliament, talking about the above issue:

The proposed expansion of the port at Roberts Bank is now at its final stage for approval by the federal government. The proposed expansion is to build a second terminal and is referred to as RBT2. Many Nature Vancouver members have followed this lengthy process over the past decade, during which our federal government has been seeking input on the RBT2 as proposed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. Now is the final opportunity for us to express our concerns.

It is critical to let your MP know of your concerns, as it will be a federal government decision. Send a letter to your MP, or better yet, try to arrange an online meeting. Your letter should also be sent to the two main federal ministers responsible for this project, and copied to the Prime Minister and Premier. Here are the addresses:

Minister Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment & Climate Change Canada:

Minister Joyce Murray, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Canadian Coast Guard:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Premier John Horgan:

For those who may wish to read the hundred-plus page reports, here are the links:

Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s responses to concerns and how they propose to mitigate impacts:

Federal Government’s Impact Assessment Agency of Canada “Draft Potential Conditions” if RBT2 is to be approved:

Fortunately, there are two well-written letters that will be helpful to draft your letter. Click this LINK to read the letter to politicians from the Fraser River Estuary Protection Society, signed by Otto Langer:(provide link on website)And this LINK takes you to a suggested letter to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, commenting on the conditions, prepared by Roger Emsley of APE (Against Port Expansion).

Also see the letter sent by Nigel Peck on behalf of Nature Vancouver:

If all this information is overwhelming, here’s three summary points of concern that will hopefully spur you on to write your letter:

1. The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has failed to consider the full impacts of this proposed giant fill project which will bury 177 hectares of highly productive estuarine habitat as well as remove the depth of its water column during higher tides. The proposed mitigation will not compensate for loss of critical fish and wildlife habitat, such as Chinook Salmon and several other fish species, Southern Resident Killer Whales, and biofilm mud flats essential for migrating shorebirds such as Western Sandpiper, for the largest Canadian overwintering waterfowl congregation, and for other bird species including the resident Great Blue Heron. The Fraser River Estuary is globally significant; it is the most Important Bird and Biodiversity Area in Canada.

As a side comment, here’s an example of one of the ‘laughable’ mitigation measures proposed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. They propose to write: “A Biofilm Habitat Creation Guidance Manual”, which would “help better understand how to create biofilm habitats that could support Western Sandpipers and other shorebirds”. Biofilm scientists have repeatedly said that this cannot be done.

2. The need for RBT2 has not been justified. Global Container Terminal Canada, the largest port operator in BC, has clearly stated that the VFPA has exaggerated container terminal needs. Our federal government has also committed to reduce Canada’s export of coal and this should result in less space taken up by coal export operations at the existing Roberts Bank terminal, which could free up space for container shipping. There is also a proposal for expansion of container shipping at Port Prince Rupert. 

3. Cumulative impacts of shipping throughout the Fraser Estuary and the Salish Sea have not been addressed.

Thanks, in advance, for making the time to write a letter and/or request a meeting with your MP. On a personal note, I confess that the lengthy mitigation reports do draw me into a depressing space. However, thinking that our communication with our elected politicians may make a difference and that many Nature Vancouver members will make the time to express their concerns, helps lift me from that space.

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