Fraser Voices urges federal government to reject Roberts Bank port expansion

Update: We’re being asked how to write to politicians who can make a difference. Here’s a Delta group’s resource for getting federal action.

Terminate the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 proposalFrom Otto Langer, Fisheries Biologist, Chair of Fraser Voices Association:

On March 30, 2020, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency Review Panel released a 600-page report. If the Federal Government accepts the recommendations, it will permit the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority to fill in 177 hectares (1.77 square kilometers) of highly productive mudflat and marshlands on Roberts Bank for another container port.

The report extolls the economic and industrial benefits of the project before outlining numerous significant negative environmental and social impacts. However, none of the environmental damage is considered sufficient to recommend denying the port expansion. The damages are seen as technical challenges that can be overcome with monitoring, habitat offsets and other technical fixes without proof they will replace nature’s functions.

The conclusion that the loss of Roberts Bank habitats and its biota can simply be replaced with some man-made structures on Richmond’s Sturgeon Banks is wishful thinking. How can, Sturgeon Banks magically host more salmon, birds, shrimp and crab? How can the displaced Roberts Bank crab fishery simply move north to Sturgeon Banks? Should we really be encouraging more bird populations near the airport?

The estuary has lost over 80% of its wetlands since European contact. During the past decade the estuary has been subjected to plans for a coal port, a fourth runway across Sturgeon Banks,  a jet fuel terminal and expanded Lehigh cement and Fortis LNG plants and docks on Tilbury Island. Now the port wants to fill in much of Roberts Bank. Some of these projects are now underway.

The Fraser Estuary is struggling to survive as an ecosystem. If approved, this port project will do irreparable damage to the flora, salmon, sturgeon, orca and thousands of migratory shorebirds passing through the region.

Socially, this area is important to us, and it supports a recreational, aboriginal and commercial fishery. We must now put pressure on our federal MPs and hope the Trudeau Government will understand that our estuary is reaching a point of no return—and reject the Roberts Bank port expansion.


Below: Otto Langer with his wife—and fellow biologist—Sandra Bourque.

More recommended resources on this topic:

Roberts Bank Terminal 2 versus the environment

Prince Rupert or Roberts Bank Terminal 2?

Migrating Sandpipers at Roberts Bank
(extremely popular Facebook video post)

Also get involved in the discussion about this on Facebook.

Excellent Boundary Bay Conservation Committee
report re RBT2 rationale and alternatives

Excellent Boundary Bay Conservation Committee
report re the immense ecological effects of RBT2

Fraser Voices on Facebook



  1. 1
    Ted Hopkins Says:

    Berth 4 is the obvious better choice if expansion is really needed.

    • 2
      kewljim Says:

      Thanks. That’s an informed suggestion, Ted Hopkins. Also, as the Boundary Bay Conservation Society has shown in well documented reports, there are other options, including Price Rupert, but the panel that sent this matter to the Environment Minister for a decision wasn’t open to that kind of information.

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