The GCT Deltaport Berth 4 expansion project – which has captured attention as an alternative to the controversial Terminal 2 expansion at Roberts Bank proposed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority – is moving on to its next phase of the regulatory process.
The federal Impact Assessment Agency and provincial Environmental Assessment Office said this week the agencies will jointly host virtual information sessions on the DP4 proposal on Nov. 5 and Nov. 10 (with both events running from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.).
Officials said the sessions will include presentations from both federal and provincial regulatory fronts, as well as from Global Container Terminals (GCT) itself on the project to add an additional two million TEUs of space annually at the Deltaport container port at Roberts Bank.
The public comment period on DP4 began on Oct. 13 after the regulatory agencies accepted GCT’s initial description of the project. Officials are now urging public and indigenous groups to review the expansion details and to comment at either the Canadian Impact Assessment Registry or the provincial EAO website.
The public comment period will now conclude on Nov. 27 at midnight.
GCT, whose Deltaport facility is the container port operating at Roberts Bank, has been a staunch opponent of the Port Authority’s plan to expand Roberts Bank through the Terminal 2 expansion. Port Authority officials say they plan on finding a separate operator at Terminal 2, which would provide competition for GCT and keep port-usage fees lower for incoming vessels.
Local environmental and community groups have opposed the larger Terminal 2 project, citing potential catastrophic damage to the surround wetland and its ability to support wildlife like the western sandpiper. Opponents have also said Terminal 2’s size and scale may be larger than what’s actually needed to fulfill shipping demands from the West Coast.
Port Authority officials have said that the area will run out of container capacity by the mid 2030s if the Terminal 2 expansion isn’t approved. A decision is expected in 2021; meanwhile, GCT has touted the DP4 expansion as a small, cheaper and less intrusive project, adding that they believe the Port Authority has displayed a conflict of interest in trying to slow down DP4 while its own Terminal 2 project is on the docket.