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Delta wants more oversight for Fraser River, Salish Sea

The grinding facility and marine terminal application will undergo a provincial and federal environmental assessment through a process led by the BC Environmental Assessment Office
lehigh cement grinding proposal
The new Lehigh facility would be located adjacent to its existing cement plant on Tilbury Island

It’s another reason there needs to be a coordinated and comprehensive environmental assessment of the Fraser River estuary and Salish Sea.

That’s according to a recent Delta staff report to council on the Lehigh Hanson Materials proposal to construct and operate a grinding facility and marine terminal along the Fraser River.

Located adjacent to its existing cement plant on Tilbury Island, the Delta Grinding Facility Project would produce up to 650,000 tonnes of supplementary cementitious material per year when fully operational, and would have an operational life of at least 40 years, according to the company.

Currently winding its way through the federal and provincial application and environmental assessment process, and also requiring city rezoning, the facility would produce material for markets including trucks locally and vessels from overseas.

“The project is located in a region that has not been the subject of federal regional environmental studies. The site of the proposed project is surrounded by several projects that have been subject to environmental assessment (under both the provincial and federal review processes), including the WesPac Tilbury Marine Jetty Project, South Fraser Perimeter Road Project, George Massey Tunnel Replacement Project, Vancouver Airport Fuel Delivery Project and the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 Project. Publicly available information from these projects that can inform the effects assessment of the Delta Grinding Facility will be drawn upon,” the company explained in its initial project description.

The Delta report notes that in connection with the separate proposed Tilbury Marine Jetty Project, council recently reiterated the city’s request to the federal and provincial governments for a comprehensive regional environmental assessment of the Fraser River estuary and Salish Sea.

“The proposed Lehigh Project is another project that would contribute incrementally to marine traffic in the Fraser River and Salish Sea and associated environmental impacts. The EA for the Lehigh Project will consider the cumulative effects of the Project, together with other approve and proposed projects,” the report states.

The company will be requested to have representatives make a presentation at council.

In September, council discussed the application to build a new liquefied natural gas (LNG) marine jetty facility adjacent to the existing FortisBC plant in Tilbury, which is also planning an expansion.

The marine jetty project is proposed by the Tilbury Jetty Limited Partnership, a partnership between affiliates of FortisBC and Seaspan, which replaced WesPac Midstream-Vancouver LLC as the proponent.

Council agreed with a staff recommendations for government to provide an acknowledgement of Delta’s previous request that regional environmental assessments for the Fraser River estuary and Salish Sea be completed, and for that information to be used to develop a long-term environmental management plan.

Mayor George Harvie said during that discussion that even more needs to be done including the creation of an organization to replace the Fraser River Estuary Management Program (FREMP), which was shut down by government several years ago.

“It hasn’t really been replaced. We have no government agency looking at the overall aspects of sustainable development for the Fraser River and the Salish Sea,” said Harvie.

The gap is something that needs to be filled but Delta can’t advocate just on its own, said Harvie, adding he would be bringing forward a motion at Metro Vancouver to issue a request to government.