Mar 13, 2022

By Jeremy Logan

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A plan to build a new shipping container terminal the size of nearly 144 football fields at a port off Delta, British Columbia, has sparked a rival proposal, along with concerns for endangered killer whales and the chinook salmon they eat.

A federally appointed independent review panel said in 2020 that the three-berth terminal proposed by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority would support competitiveness and local opportunities.

However, it also concluded the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 project would have significant adverse effects on endangered southern resident killer whales.

Port authority vice-president Duncan Wilson says they’ve since enhanced the planned mitigation measures to minimize the impact on the orcas and salmon.

The deadline is Tuesday for public comment before the federal environment minister makes a decision.

A review panel is also looking over an alternative proposal to increase port capacity by Global Container Terminals, which wants to add a fourth berth to its terminal.

Delta Mayor George Harvie wrote to federal officials last month, urging them to either reject the port’s plan or postpone its decision until it’s determined which of the two projects would have fewer harms.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada says it can’t suspend an ongoing assessment at the request of the public.

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