APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
Watch Video To See Why!
APE - Against Port Expansion in Delta, BC
Say NO to Roberts Bank Terminal 2
Watch Video To See Why!
Latest News

Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC

APE (Against Port Expansion in the Fraser Estuary BC) is a group of concerned citizens who recognize that plans for container terminal expansion on Roberts Bank (RBT2) will see the loss of globally-significant wetlands and habitat (classified as a Globally Significant Important Bird and Biodiversity Area - IBA) for migratory birds, shorebirds, waterfowl, salmon, herring, crabs and orca whales; degradation of the quality of life for thousands of Lower Mainland residents; and the industrialization of prime agricultural land.

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HERE IS THE CURRENT RBT2 STATUS:

  • MAR. 27 2020 THE FEDERALLY-APPOINTED REVIEW PANEL PUBLISHED ITS REPORT IDENTIFIYING SIGNIFICANT ADVERSE ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS IN MANY AREAS SHOULD RBT2 BE BUILT.
  • AUG. 24 2020 THE FEDERAL ENVIRONMENT MINISTER PAUSED THE DECiSiON PROCESS AND ASKED THE PORT FOR MORE INFORMATION. 
  • AUG. 28 THE PORT SAYS IT WILL HAVE COMPLETED GATHERING THE ADDITIONAL INFORMATION PRIOR TO YEAR END
  • NOV. 5 THE PORT SAYS IT WILL NOT PROVIDE THE INFORMATION UNTIL SUMMER 2021.

SO MANY QUESTIONS:

  • WHAT  IS THE PORT AFRAID OF? 
  • WHAT IS IT TRYING TO HIDE? 
  • WHY IS THE PORT NOW HIRING AN ENGINEER TO MANAGE INFRASTRUCTURE DELIVERY AND GET CONTRACTS SIGNED FOR A T2 OPERATOR? 

SO MANY QUESTIONS, NO ANSWERS FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.

WE NEED YOUR HELP. NOW IS THE IDEAL TIME TO URGE THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO REJECT ROBERTS BANK TERMINAL 2.

E-petition 2828 sponsored by Paul Manly MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith called on the government to reject RBT2. It closed December 2 2020 with 1861 signatures.

https://petitions.ourcommons.ca/en/Petition/Details?Petition=e-2828

Those signing were all across Canada.  Eight provinces and two territories all had signatories. It was certified and presented to the House of Commons on Dec. 9 2020. The govenrment responded January 26 2021, refusing to reject RBT2 at this time, saying the decsion will be based on science facts and evidence.

The govenrment already has the science, facts and evidence. Its own scientists say RBT2 will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. How much more does the government need to reject this project?

And so the saga continues, seven years and counting, wasting more taxpayer funds.

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON THE FEDERAL GOVENRMENT

TELL THEM YOU WILL NOT ACCEPT RBT2 BEING APPROVED

IF YOU MISSED SIGNING WE HAVE PUT UP ANOTHER PETITION.

Click Here to Sign the Petition

See what others are doing to stop RBT2:

1. Fraser Delta in the International spotlight. Birdlife Interantional has joined the fight to stop RBT2.
https://www.birdlife.org/worldwide/news/waterfowl-winter-refuge-fraser-river-delta-risks-being-lost-forever?utm_source=BirdLife+International+News+Notifications&utm_campaign=a1bb67f58b-Summary_news_notification&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_4122f13b8a-a1bb67f58b-131704081&mc_cid=a1bb67f58b&mc_eid=0757e28fcf 

2. A video by Ranincoast Conservation
https://youtu.be/HkKLY3P2_ys

3. Natural Legacies versus Waste

https://gardencitylands.wordpress.com/2020/04/04/fraser-voices-urges-federal-government-to-reject-roberts-bank-port-expansion/

4. Fraser Voices

https://www.facebook.com/FraserVoices/posts/2525873930958632?__cft__[0]=AZUdM4gLQGuLAuiIVb_6PxF5BNrdBoz4KiElrrlqVoUBShwuJp6UHSY5mWAGz0etwKLQsE10_Ss-qK7aGDQemFBPCb8nyQsjtbRBGMWEMaqncH-9Dc-WYdwptkuZASF4OsN487dcEmp0wBKuk9JfpC8C0GMYxI1uj79xp-tiD_FXKA&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R

5. Georgia Strait Alliance 

https://georgiastrait.org/work/species-at-risk/proposed-terminal-2-deltaport-expansion-2/

Roberts Bank Election Candidates" Responses

Five Questions concerning the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project were sent to federal election candidates as follows:

1. If elected will you speak up and publicly oppose approval of RBT2? Yes or No.
2. Government scientists have said if built RBT2 will result in immediate, irreversible, continuous, negative environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. Do you agree and endorse their scientific conclusion? Yes or No.
3. The Lower Fraser and Estuary has lost 80 percent of the natural habitat to port and industrial development. Will you support action to protect what remains of the natural habitat? Will you commit to making Roberts Bank a national marine protected area with no further port development on Roberts Bank? Yes or No.
4. The Salish Sea - Juan de Fuca Strait, Georgia Strait and Puget Sound - are choking from ever increasing commercial vessel transits. Will you support placing an annual cap on the number of commercial vessel transits through Canadian waters to better protect wildlife species and their habitat? Yes or No..
5. Canada’s trading needs will be well satisfied for decades to come with the already announced expansions of container terminal capacity in Prince Rupert as well as expansions of existing Vancouver area terminals, without ever building Roberts Bank Terminal 2. Do you support maximizing terminal expansion potential at Prince Rupert? Yes or No.

Here are election candidates' responses - as of September 15 - to the questions posed to them:
  • Monika Dean NDP
    No Response 
  • Hong Yan Pan Independent

    1. Yes 
    2.  Yes, as long as it is evidenced based report e.g. peer reviewed high quality research. I appreciate indigenous people consultation is also included in the decision making process. 
    3. Yes 
    4. Yes 
    5. Potentially yes, I need to do separate research to answer some questions e.g. what are the environmental impacts to Prince Rupert? Especially, what are the emergency measures to prevent oil spill from the containers in case of major earthquakes in the Prince Rupert area?

  • Carla Qualtrough Liberal Party
    Responded Sep 19 2021 as follows:

Dear Roger,

I am writing this letter in response to your questions to candidates in the
2021 with respect to the RBT2 Project.

To begin, please be assured that while I recognize the key role that
Deltaport plays in our economy and global trade, I am of the strong opinion
that port expansion cannot be at the expense of the environment.

As you know, I have followed this file very closely over the years and have
been firm in my position that I am not convinced that the adverse and
cumulative environmental impacts of the RBT2 Project can be adequately
mitigated.

In the 2019 election we were awaiting the Environmental Assessment
Panel’s findings, which were published in March 2020. The findings were
very concerning and reinforced my position. As you know, the federal
Environment Minister subsequently wrote to the Port in August 2020
requesting further information and the Port has not as of yet responded.

The City of Delta and the City of Richmond have also expressed their
opposition to the Project in light of the Panel’s findings, and have written to
the Prime Minister to request that the project not be approved.

Rest assured that I am very committed to following the science and
listening to the experts when it comes to this project as well as to ensuring
that we protect and restore the Fraser River Estuary. I believe that Delta
can benefit significantly from our specific Liberal platform commitments to
restoring and enhancing wetlands: to a Fresh Water Strategy that will
restore the Fraser River Estuary; and to advancing the Pacific Salmon
Strategy.

I also think that our community will benefit from the ongoing port
governance review being conducted by Transport Canada. The “What We
Heard Report” that was published highlighted the need to assess and
manage the negative impact of port development, as well as strategically
managing ports along the West Coast.

Additionally, the work being done to re-constitute a multi-jurisdictional
Fraser River regional coordinating body modelled after the previous
FREMP is very important. I am also very fond of the recently announced
Burrard Inlet Environmental Science and Stewardship Agreement between
the Government of Canada and the Tsleil-Waututh Nation that will
coordinate stewardship activities and scientific research and analysis in
Burrard Inlet. This Agreement includes a $20 million investment over ten
years to maintain the Burrard Inlet Environmental Science and Stewardship
Fund. I think a similar model could serve the Fraser River well, and have
spoken to the Environment Minister about exploring this post-election.

If re-elected, my approach moving forward will be to continue to convey
what I am hearing from constituents and municipal leaders; to follow the
science and expert advice; to be both critical and open-minded in
assessing new information; to ask the tough questions; and to not back
down on my areas of concern.

In closing, I have very much appreciated working with you over the last six
years. I look forward to continuing to work together in the future.

Sincerely,

Carla Qualtrough

  • Garry Shearer Conservative Party
    No Response 
  • Jeremy Smith Green Party of Canada
    No Response  
  • Paul Tarasenko Peoples Part of Canada
    No Response  

Thanks to (Melody) Hong Yan Pan who thoughtfully and after doing her own reserach was the first candidate to answer. Thanks to Carla Qualtrough for also responding.

Attention: Supporters of the Roberts Bank ecosystem and its wildlife -  please help by encouraging the other candidates to answer.

RBT2 and the Federal Election

Emails have gone out to the following Federal Election Candidates in Delta BC:

  • Monika Dean NDP
  • Hong Yan Pan Independent
  • Carla Qualtrough Liberal Party
  • Garry Shearer Conservative Party
  • Jeremy Smith Green Party of Canada
  • Paul Tarasenko Peoples Part of Canada

Whilst the federal election call has disrupted the decision process for the RBT2 project, residents of Delta need to hear from the candidates on the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project.

This election is an opportunity to ask candidates about RBT2. In the 2019 election we got a lot of waffle. This time around we need specific answers. No more vague answers and promises.  

Here are the five key questions sent to the candidates:

1. If elected will you speak up and publicly oppose approval of RBT2? Yes or No.

2. Government scientists have said if built RBT2 will result in immediate, irreversible, continuous, negative environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. Do you agree and endorse their scientific conclusion? Yes or No.

3. The Lower Fraser and Estuary has lost 80 percent of the natural habitat to port and industrial development. Will you support action to protect what remains of the natural habitat? Will you commit to making Roberts Bank a national marine protected area with no further port development on Roberts Bank? Yes or No.

4. The Salish Sea - Juan de Fuca Strait, Georgia Strait and Puget Sound - are choking from ever increasing commercial vessel transits. Will you support placing an annual cap on the number of commercial vessel transits through Canadian waters to better protect wildlife species and their habitat? Yes or No..

5. Canada’s trading needs will be well satisfied for decades to come with the already announced expansions of container terminal capacity in Prince Rupert as well as expansions of existing Vancouver area terminals, without ever building Roberts Bank Terminal 2. Do you support maximizing terminal expansion potential at Prince Rupert? Yes or No.

Candidates Responses will be posted as they are received.

 As further background: 

  • A three person federally appointed review panel published its report on RBT2 and submitted it to the federal government in March 2020.
  • In August 2020 the federal Minister of Environment asked for additional information on the project, delaying the project decision until that information is supplied.
  • The VFPA committed over a year ago to submit the additional information requested to the Minister of Environment by this summer. With that information the Minister would then decide whether to grant approval or deny it.
  • Summer is pretty well over but still VFPA has not submitted the additional information. Were they waiting, hoping that the election call would delay the process? 
  • Once the additional information is published there will be a further round of public consultation and then the federal government will announce its decision – either to deny project approval, or to approve with mitigation.
 

The Against Port Expansion Community Group, which is not political, is one of over 40 groups that are opposed to the RBT2 development. The cities of Delta, Richmond and White Rock are equally opposed and have registered their opposition with the federal government. 

Roberts Bank is globally significant wetland habitat for millions of migratory and other shorebirds and waterfowl, in addition to herons, salmon, crabs, marine mammals, including endangered orcas, and other wildlife species, that all rely on the wetlands habitat. There is no other site in Canada that supports the diversity and number of birds found in winter on Roberts Bank. Approval for Roberts Bank Terminal 2 must be denied.

If you receive information from any candidates please send it to saynotot2@gmail.com.  

One of the Worst Environmental Assessments – Ever

One of the Worst Environmental Assessments – Ever 

The Environmental Assessment for the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 project has been ongoing for eight years. It has been a monumental failure:

  • Failure to recognize the environmental importance of Roberts Bank at the mouth of the Fraser Estuary. This site should never have been chosen in the first place.
  • Environmental assessment carried out under legislation brought in by Stephen Harper’s government in 2012, with fewer, less stringent protections for natural habitat, and flawed review procedures with too many loopholes.
  • A heavily flawed environmental assessment by a federally appointed Review Panel, with the Port Authority having far too much sway over how the assessment was carried out.
  • No cumulative effects assessment, despite significant industrialization of the Lower Fraser and estuary, with a number of port and industrial projects already under development and more planned.
  • Failure to recognize independent and peer-reviewed science when considering the effects of the terminal’s man-made island on biofilm.
  • Government scientists’ concerns, muzzled, downplayed, and given insufficient recognition and weight in the Panel’s decision making
  • No recognition of the precautionary principle. 
  • No risk analysis of vulnerable or endangered wildlife species, such as salmon, the southern resident killer whale, western sandpiper.
  • No analysis of the Salish Sea’s navigation channels to determine their practical capacity in terms of vessel movements, by day, month or year.
  • No impact and effects analysis of increased road and rail traffic required to service the new terminal, with the negative effects on communities in the Lower Mainland, including increased air, noise, and light pollution that threatens human health and cannot be mitigated.
  • Refusal to recognize the federal government report that determined no further port expansion to take place in Vancouver until Prince Rupert’s expansion potential has been maximized.
  • No independent analysis of the Port’s claims that Canada is running out of west coast container terminal capacity, especially given the concrete evidence that significant terminal expansions are being planned in Prince Rupert that obviate the need for the Roberts Bank terminal.
  • Far too much weight given to mitigation and offsite habitat offsetting with no evidence these will be effective or in any significant measure compensate for the environmental damage done to the Roberts Bank ecosystem.
  • Failure to assess sub tidal wetlands and cumulative effects on wetlands and wetland functions, including the failure to properly assess shorebirds, shorebird habitat and the importance of biofilm to the food web
  • Failure to recognize the significant risk, where federal government scientists warned as far back as 2005 that this development will break the chain of the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds.
  • Abrogation of federal government commitments to protect wetland habitats and functions.
  • The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is out of control with the federal government taking a laissez faire approach to its oversight.

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority claims - without any evidence in support -  this project is in the public interest. This despite three cities - Richmond, Delta and White Rock - having expressed opposition to the project with the federal government, as well as over 40 environmental and other groups that also oppose building another container terminal on Roberts Bank.

All this and more is contained in this report

Multiple_Failures_in_the_Environmental_Assessment_of_The_Roberts_Bank_Container_Terminal_2_Project.pdf

Read also this recent Boundary Bay Conservation Committee report sent to the federal and provinical governments as well as mayors in Metro Vancouver.

Irreversible_Harm_to_Fraser_Estuary.pdf

Why Minister Wilkinson, Environment and Climate Change Canada saw the need to request additional information from the Port of Vancouver remains a mystery. The evidence is compelling – The Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. The Review Panel said that. Government scientists said that. Peer-reviewed science, published in recognized science journals, says that. Independent experts in wetlands and wetland functions have said that. 

With the federal government having turned down a container port expansion project in Quebec on environmental grounds there are now compelling reasons to reject Roberts Bank Terminal 2. 

It is time for the federal government to act and state: 

“ Building Roberts Bank Terminal 2 presents potential significant direct and cumulative adverse environmental effects on Roberts Bank and in the Fraser Estuary. The Project is not justified in the circumstances and therefore project approval is denied”.

 

Save the Fraser Estuary by Stopping Roberts Bank Terminal 2

For how much longer is the Port of Vancouver going to continue spinning misinformation that Roberts Bank Terminal 2 is environmentally sustainable and is the only solution to satisfy Canada’s container trading needs?

 At its recent Annual General Meeting the Port of Vancouver continued with its misinformation regarding the environmental impacts of it’s Roberts Bank Container Terminal 2 (RBT2) project and the business need for more container capacity on the Canadian West Coast.

In answer to this question at the meeting:
“The Fraser estuary is on the bank of collapse, several new research studies in the media are demonstrating it. Why is the port of Vancouver persisting with its $3.5 billion plus environmentally disastrous RBT2 when both B.C. container terminal operators GCT and DP World have proposed environmentally sustainable terminal expansions?"

The Port Senior Management responded that the terminal would be built in deep water well away from shores and habitats. That is irrelevant

By building this huge man made island - the size of 250 football fields - they will alter tidal flows, water temperature and salinity. It is the salinity and its fluctuations that produce the fatty acid rich diatoms in the biofilm on the mudflats that is an essential food source for millions of birds and other wildlife. That man-made island lessens the fluctuations in salinity and the biofilm will no longer have the richness and the polyunsaturated fatty acids and Omega 3 that the birds need. This could well lead to the extinction of the Western Sandpipers that rely on it when they stop to refuel on their way to their arctic breeding grounds. 

In answer to another question:
“The impacts of a future potential RBT2 development on the ecosystem within the Salish Sea will be devastating. How is the Port reconciling this reality against its intention to continue with its pursuit of the new terminal?”

Port senior management stated that the additional information they are preparing for the Environment Minister shows that this project can be built and operate in ways that can mitigate environmental impacts. They went on to state: “By the time terminal 2 is complete, we are going to be leaving a legacy of environmental benefits behind as a result of the project”.

Nonsense!

The government’s own scientists are insistent, stating this project will result in significant adverse environmental effects that cannot be mitigated. They told the Environmental Assessment Panel the project’s impacts on biofilm  “are anticipated to be high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and continuous”. In other words, immitigable

There is no point in the Port providing more of its paid-for consultants’ developed science to the Minister. None of that science has been published in peer-reviewed science journals and much of it runs counter to the scientific community’s findings that the Fraser Estuary is part of an already observed and wider biodiversity collapse in the Salish Sea, driven by projects like Roberts Bank Terminal 2. 

Port senior management continue to misinform the public, policy makers and politicians In terms of a business need for RBT2. Port senior management claims RBT2 is the only project to meet Canada’s needs by the end of the 2020s. 

That is patently false information.  

At a recent presentation DP World, the operator of the Vancouver Centerm, Fraser Surrey Docks and Prince Rupert container terminals stated they will:

      1. Continue to operate the Fraser Surrey Docks container terminal beyond 2023 (The Port says the terminal will decline because of limitations in the River).

       2. By 2022 finish expansion of the Centerm Terminal to provide 1.5 million Container (TEU) capacity.

        3. By 2023 expand Prince Rupert's Fairview Terminal to provide 1.8-million (TEU) capacity. 

       4. Between 2028 and 2030 bring a second terminal (On South Kaien Island) into operation giving Prince Rupert container capacity in excess of 5 million TEUs. 

Taken together and adding in Global Container Terminals capacities at Deltaport and Vanterm in the inner harbour, West Coast Canada will have in excess of 10 million container terminal capacity by 2030. The Port of Vancouver’s own recently updated forecast shows West Coast Canada terminals will handle between 7.5 to 8.8 mill TEUs by 2045. Therefore there is clearly no need to build RBT2 at the huge cost of $3.5 billion plus whilst devastating the natural habitat and the Roberts Bank ecosystem in the process.

The federal government and cabinet must now recognize the only responsible action is to reject the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project, thereby preserving this ecosystem and wildlife habitat essential for the survival of 102 species at risk of extinction, plus over 2 billion juvenile salmon, and the 1.4 million migratory birds that visit this stop on the Pacific flyway every year. 

Read these two documents to understand why the Fraser Estuary is on the brink of collapse and why RBT2 is not needed - ever

The_Fraser_Estuary_is_on_the_Brink_of_Collapse_May_2021.pdf

Save_tax_dollars_and_Fraser_estuary.pdf