Feds nix Laurentia port project

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

The federal government has said the Laurentia port project cannot go ahead due to environmental concerns.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada’s Environmental Assessment Report concluded that the Laurentia Project: Port of Quebec Deep-Water Wharf – Beauport Sector was likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects to fish and fish habitat, air quality and human health, socio-economic conditions, and the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposed by Indigenous peoples.

Based on these findings and pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, had referred the project to the Governor in Council to determine if these significant adverse environmental effects were justified in the circumstances.

After a review, the Governor in Council determined the potential significant direct and cumulative adverse environmental effects of the Laurentia Project are not justified in the circumstances.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change issued a Decision Statement to this effect under CEAA 2012.

“The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada led an exhaustive environmental assessment that highlighted the possibility for significant adverse environmental effects on a number of components associated with the project, many of which would be irreversible,” Wilkinson said.

“This was a difficult decision – but the right one as we look to grow the economy and protect the environment for future generations.”

The decision does not prevent the Quebec Port Authority from submitting new project proposals and does not preclude potential development. Potential future proposals would be assessed in accordance with the Impact Assessment Act, which came into force in August 2019.

The project, proposed by the Quebec Port Authority, is an extension to an existing wharf in order to operate a deep-water terminal dedicated to containerized general cargo in the Port of Quebec. The project also includes the construction of a new berth and a retaining dike that would allow for the development of an additional 17 hectares of backshore space, along with the construction of rail lines and various road accesses.

The Laurentia Project is one of five port terminal expansion projects proposed in the province of Quebec in the last several years. Two are currently undergoing a federal environmental assessment by the Agency. Two others, the Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project and the Marine Terminal Project on the North Shore of the Saguenay, were approved in March 2021 and October 2018 respectively because the Minister concluded after their environmental assessments that they were not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.

Consultations with Indigenous groups and communities throughout the environmental assessment were extensive, with seven groups participating in the process, and funding of over $220,000 provided to support their participation in the various steps of the review.

The Agency conducted a rigorous and science-based federal environmental assessment. Experts from more than 15 federal and provincial departments participated in the process by providing advice and technical expertise throughout the project’s review.

The Agency conducted extensive public consultations throughout the environmental assessment and provided four formal opportunities for public comments and input. Over 800 comments were received from individuals and groups, and this valuable input was carefully reviewed, considered, documented and taken into account in the development of the Environmental Assessment Report.