Richmond’s Garden City Conservation outline two initiatives impacting the vital Fraser River estuary which passes through Richmond and Delta. A citizens’ group has partnered with Ecojustice and the municipalities of Surrey and New Westminster to stop thermal coal from being shipped. Thermal coal is dirty coal in two ways-it is shipped in open box cars that are sprayed, but still leave a residue on properties and housing. The end use of thermal coal is also for heating, a source of air pollution, and mining it has detrimental impacts on the environment.
Price Tags has reported on Port Metro Vancouver’s proposed Roberts Bank Terminal 2 which will allow even bigger ships to be loaded on an artificial island at the mouth of the Fraser. This manmade island will take out vital habitat for the western sandpiper that relies on a certain biofilm for most of its migratory feeding at this location. Perhaps as a way to smooth federal approval of Roberts Bank Terminal 2, the Port is now saying that they are going to do less dredging in the Fraser River ship channel, stating that it is too cost prohibitive. But as Garden City Conservation observes “If the port doesn’t have to include the environmental impact of dredging as a “cumulative effect” of projects in the estuary, it has a better chance of getting Terminal 2 approved. After that assessment, the port could consider deeper dredging again.”
While discussing the Fraser River estuary Garden City Conservation also brings up the Massey Tunnel discussion, suggesting that new “green tubes” to supplement the four lane “legacy tube” be placed further east upriver potentially connecting with Richmond’s Nelson Road. This location leads towards Highway 91 and has minimal impact on the most arable soils in Canada. These new “green tubes” can divert traffic from the “legacy tubes” during renovations. There is a massive volume of materials that need to be gone through from the Massey Bridge project, and it is hoped that a Provincial environmental impact assessment will be properly conducted.