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Comment period for competing Delta port expansion bid

DP4 is undergoing a coordinated impact assessment by the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada and the BC Environmental Assessment Office
GCT DP4 proposal in Delta, BC
GCT contends that its smaller DP4 expansion is a less expensive and more market-driven project for the port’s growing container cargo needs than VFPA’s T2 plan.

Another comment period has opened for a competing proposal to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s (VFPA) proposed Terminal 2 (T2) expansion at Roberts Bank.

Global Container Terminals, the operator of the three-berth container terminal in Delta, has been lobbying for its submitted application to build a fourth berth next to the current facility, a proposal called the Deltaport Fourth Berth (DP4) project.

GCT says its project would provide incremental, market-driven capacity through a phased expansion of the current terminal footprint, adding up to two million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of new capacity, as needed.

GCT recently announced that its Detailed Project Description was accepted, while a Readiness Decision Report along with the Readiness Decision Order was issued by the BC Environmental Assessment Office (BC EAO) recommending that the project proceed to the next phase of an environmental assessment.

The Detailed Project Description was developed following the issuance of a Joint Summary of Issues by the regulators.

It incorporates input from consultation and engagement with provincial, territorial and Indigenous jurisdictions, Indigenous groups, the public, federal authorities and other participants.

It also describes how the input contributed to changes to the application.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, meanwhile, issued a Notice of Impact Assessment Decision to move the project to the next phase of the coordinated impact assessment.

The public and Indigenous nations are invited to review and provide feedback on a Process Order, the draft Joint Guidelines and the draft Joint Assessment Plan for the assessment of the project.

The comment period ends Jan. 7 by midnight.

Comments only need to be submitted to the BC EAO or the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada to be considered in both federal and provincial assessment processes.

Both agencies will also be hosting virtual information sessions.

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Meantime, the VFPA is anticipating a decision on its T2 project early next year.

That’s what president and CEO Robin Silvester told the Optimist in a recent interview.

“We continue to be optimistic. We’ve had detailed information requests from the (federal environment) minister and we were on the cusp of answering all those questions. We continue to be strongly of the view that the project is approvable but that’s obviously a decision for the government to make. We’re hopeful that decision will be made early in the new year,” said Silvester.

The federal government has been considering the port’s application to build a new three-berth container facility that would be located on a man-made island adjacent to the exiting Deltaport container terminal.

GCT contends DP4 is more sustainable, phased and a privately-funded expansion of its existing footprint to add a fourth berth, delivering required capacity while minimizing impact on neighbours, environment, Indigenous fishing grounds and the workforce.

GCT took VFPA to court over the port authority’s refusal to process the DP4 application and a Federal Court hearing was recently held where both sides presented their arguments.