Biofilm restoration – one of many environmental concerns with the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 2


In a recent Letter to the Editor responding to this March 19 article Terminal 2 biofilm restoration recipe gets mixed reviews by Business in Vancouver, Marko Dekovic, Vice President of Public Affairs for Global Container Terminals suggests environmental groups should indeed be concerned about the impacts of the Port of Vancouver’s proposed Terminal 2 project.

Here is the Letter to the Editor that was submitted:

Local environmental groups are right to be skeptical about replacement of the biofilm that could be destroyed by the Port of Vancouver’s Terminal 2 port expansion project, the “multibillion-dollar project that will affect 177 hectares of the estuary area.”  

Migratory shorebirds, including the Western Sandpiper, depend on biofilm for essential nutrition and Environment and Climate Change Canada estimated that the RBT2 project's residual adverse impacts on biofilm are "potentially high in magnitude, permanent, irreversible, and, continuous." The Port of Vancouver suggests it has found a way to mitigate the destruction, but, of course, the best mitigation strategy is to avoid the damage in the first place. 

As luck (ingenuity, planning, tenaciousness) would have it, there is a simple answer to getting the expanded port capacity we need at Roberts Bank that won’t devastate the biofilm (and the sandpipers): GCT’s Deltaport Berth 4 (DP4) expansion is proposed on the east side of the existing Roberts Bank causeway, where almost no biofilm has been identified. 

Finally, the answer to the question about whether DP4 would proceed even if RBT2 receives its government approval first is an emphatic yes for a number of reasons.  Our project has key components that RBT2 does not, notwithstanding the environmental assessment approvals.  

  • We have the ability to finance our project ourselves (through our shareholders) – RBT2 does not.
  • We have a terminal operator (ourselves) – RBT2 does not. 
  • We have existing customers who will use our project – RBT2 does not.    

The main thing standing in the way of our project is the Port of Vancouver itself, as they obstruct us in favour of their own project.

Marko Dekovic

Vice President, Public Affairs

Global Container Terminals

Watch: Environmental impacts of Port of Vancouver’s Roberts Bank Terminal 2