November 14, 2017
SENT VIA EMAIL
Strathcona Residents' Association
c/o Strathcona Community Centre 601 Keefer Street
Vancouver, BC V6A 3V8
Dear Strathcona Residents' Association:
Thank you for your letter of September 26, regarding the proposed Centerm Expansion Project (Centerm) and the Environmental Assessment Office's (EAO's) approach to the project. Let me first offer my apologies for this delayed response. Your correspondence raised several specific issues related to the overlapping federal and provincial regulatory frameworks which necessitated consultations that, unfortunately, took more time than anticipated.
I appreciate your concerns regarding the proposed Project, including the potential for increased safety risks posed by rail and truck traffic and a range of acoustic and visual impacts to your neighbourhood.
As I indicated in my e-mail to you, our office has been engaged with the
Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) regarding the proposed Centerm Expansion and monitoring its progress through the VFPA's Project and Environmental Review (PER) process.
The PER process - as is the case with the provincial assessment process - will assess project impacts and propose mitigations to reduce or avoid adverse project effects. If that process concludes that the project is not likely to cause significant adverse effects, then the project may proceed from a federal perspective. If, on the other hand, the process concludes that it is likely to cause significant adverse effects, then the project must be referred to federal cabinet to decide whether the Centerm project is justified in the circumstances.
As you identify in your letter, the proposed project raises the question of whether it triggers the provincial Reviewable Projects Regulation as well as VFPA's obligations under s.67 of the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
As the proposed Centerm is entirely on federal lands, and in light of the PER process underway, our intention is to let the VFPA process continue to completion before determining if Centerm triggers a provincial EA. I understand from the regulatory division of VFPA that the process is in the latter stages of technical review phase and has not proceeded to the decision-making stage. After the PER process has concluded, and with the benefit of the PER assessment, we will determine whether an environmental assessment certificate is required or an exemption may be appropriate.
Whether to conduct an environmental assessment or grant an exemption will depend on whether the project is assessed to have significant adverse effects, taking into account practical means of preventing or reducing to an acceptable level any potential adverse effects of the project. Consistent with our guidance for exemptions
( http://www.eao.qov.bc.ca/pdf/Exemption Policy proponent quide.pdf ), the results of the PER process can be taken into account in making that determination.
I would like to again thank-you for raising this matter with me. I appreciate the SRA's commitment to the well-being of your community. I have passed on your concerns to my counterpart at the VFPA and encourage you to continue your engagement through the PER process as the most direct and immediate manner to address any concerns you have with the proposed project.
Following the completion of the PER process, I would invite you to please contact the EAO regarding any outstanding concerns.
In the meantime, if you have any additional questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Shepard, A/ Executive Project Director, at 250 387-0233 or Michael.Shepard@qov.bc.ca .
With best regards,
Associate Deputy Minister
Honourable Melanie Mark, MLA, Vancouver-Mount Pleasant
Honourable Shane Simpson, MLA, Vancouver-Hastings
Dr. Andrew Weaver, MLA, Oak Bay-Gordon Head
Sonia Fursteneau, MLA, Cowichan Valley
Gregor Robertson, Mayor, City of Vancouver
George Affleck, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Elizabeth Ball, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Adriane Carr, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Melissa De Genova, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Heather Deal, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Kerry Jang, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Raymond Louie, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Andrea Reimer, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Tim Stevenson, Councillor, City of Vancouver
Michael Shepard, A/Executive Project Director