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Environmental assessment of Vopak Pacific Canada Project
Updated on April 21, 2022

An environmental assessment certificate has been issued to Vopak Development Canada Inc. for the Vopak Pacific Canada Project on Ridley Island in northwest B.C., a proposed new bulk storage and export facility for liquid gas products. Federal approval for the project is still required.

Provincial conditions of the environmental assessment certificate:

Vopak must meet a number of requirements as a condition of the provincial environmental assessment certificate, including:

  • developing a plan for greenhouse gas emissions reductions, to be prepared in consultation with the Climate Action Secretariat, taking into consideration the Province’s legislated emission reduction targets and related schedules and policies;
  • creating a project website that provides information such as current project status, how to submit questions or concerns, upcoming public engagement activities and descriptions of activities related to each project phase;
  • participating in initiatives to monitor, assess and manage the project’s cumulative effects, if requested by the EAO;
  • reporting at regular intervals its involvement with the Community Services and Infrastructure Committee, to address potential project effects related to economic conditions, community services and infrastructure and community well-being. The report must include consultation with First Nations and consider adaptive mitigations, if required.

Federal review process

The Vopak Pacific Canada Project is not subject to a federal environmental assessment, but the project’s physical works and activities are located entirely on federal lands, under the jurisdiction of the Prince Rupert Port Authority (PRPA). It therefore requires an environmental effects determination under Section 67 of the 2012 Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Both the PRPA and Transport Canada are the relevant federal authorities in this process. The federal review, which is underway, assesses the significance of adverse environmental effects, including potential impacts to First Nations communities.

In addition, Environment and Climate Change Canada initiated a review under Section 82 of the 2019 Impact Assessment Act. Vopak is required to develop a credible plan to ensure the project produces net-zero emissions by 2050.

A key concern raised by First Nations, local governments and the public is the approximately 15% increase in rail traffic throughout the surrounding area. Transport Canada has jurisdiction over rail traffic and has advised that any risks associated with this increase can be managed through existing rail regulations.

Consultation with First Nations

The Environmental Assessment Office consulted with Gitga’at, Gitxaała, Kitselas, Kitsumkalum, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams Nations. The First Nations were invited to participate in the project’s environmental assessment working group, collaboratively develop and comment on environmental assessment documents, and meet directly throughout the process to discuss issues and concerns.

Concerns raised by First Nations regarding issues of marine transport and rail, areas of primary federal responsibility, were referred by the B.C. ministers of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation to the federal government to be considered and addressed.

Upon request, the EAO also engaged with the Office of the Wet’suwet’en and two Gitxsan Wilps, Gwininitxw and Luutkudziiwus, to better understand their concerns regarding potential impacts to salmon populations from marine or rail accidents/spills. As these issues fall under federal jurisdiction, the EAO shared information on their concerns with federal authorities.

An Indigenous Consultation Report details the issues raised by First Nations, and how those issues were considered, addressed or otherwise mitigated during the course of the environmental assessment process. It can be found here:

Public engagement

Public engagement on the Vopak Pacific Canada Project included three public-comment periods with a total of 112 comments submitted. Two open houses were held, one each in Port Edward and Prince Rupert, with a total of 84 people attending. In addition, 133 people attended the two virtual information sessions. Public comments can be viewed here: