OTTAWA – The deadline for the federal government to submit its final approval on the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 expansion is August 24, 2020. Earlier this year an independent review panel identified major environmental implications as well as infringements on aboriginal and treaty rights.
“I wrote to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in July expressing my concerns about the expansion of Roberts Bank Terminal 2,” said Paul Manly (MP, Nanaimo-Ladysmith). “The review panel clearly indicated that in addition to significant environmental and health repercussions, the project would have adverse impacts on the use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by the Tsawwassen First Nation and Musqueam Indian Band. Tsawwassen First Nation reserve lands border on Roberts Bank and the expansion would exacerbate risks to their community, associated with increased pollution and noise.”
Manly points out that the Fraser River delta has been designated a United Nations internationally significant wetland, home to numerous wildlife species. “It doesn't take much to disturb the balance of a fragile estuarine ecosystem,” he said. “The existing terminal at Roberts Bank, Deltaport, is already having an impact on juvenile salmon and endangered southern resident killer whales. If the Terminal 2 expansion goes ahead, it would double the size of Deltaport and increase greenhouse gas emissions. We are still in a climate emergency that requires us to responsibly reduce, not increase our emissions.”
“Clearly this expansion must not go ahead,” said Green Party Interim Leader Jo-Ann Roberts. “The coastal waters of this region are already choked with heavy marine traffic that threatens vital habitat. Fraser River chinook salmon populations are in decline. Salmon are a keystone species that have been a source of food and celebration to Pacific Northwest coastal Indigenous communities for thousands of years.
“A year ago, Canada declared a climate emergency. The federal government has committed to advance reconciliation and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on Indigineous Peoples. Greenlighting this project does not demonstrate a respect nor willingness to honour either of those commitments.”
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