Vancouver completes river improvement project

Old vessel on Fraser River 151 sites with derelict boats and structures along the Fraser River were targeted as part of a Vancouver Fraser Port Authority project. Credit: Port of Vancouver
Industry Database

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has completed a project to improve safety and protect native flora and fauna by removing derelict boats and structures along the Fraser River.

151 sites with derelict boats and structures along the Fraser River were addressed in the five-year CAD$2m Fraser River Improvement Initiative, which will clear municipal waterways and shipping channels.

“As a Canada Port Authority, our role is to keep waterways safe for all port users and mitigate the impact of port activities on the surrounding communities,” said Tom Corsie, vice president of real estate of the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. “Through our Fraser River Improvement Initiative, we have invested significant resources to address a number of sites that were an environmental or navigational hazard on the river and impacted local quality of life.”

Risk assessment

Work on the sites began with attempts to contact owners and, where possible, work with them to ensure safe removal of structures or boats. Priority sites for the five-year Fraser River Improvement Initiative were identified by completing a risk assessment of all derelict sites. This involved determining the likelihood and severity of the potential impact on the environment, communities and navigation.

The wetland habitat along the Fraser River is critical to a wide variety of wildlife and plants and derelict structures like old docks and abandoned boats pose a risk to public safety and the environment. They can harm surrounding wildlife and habitat by leaching out toxic chemicals such as fuel, oil and paint, smother and destroy environmentally sensitive habitats, and lower the quality of life for residents of surrounding communities.

The port authority leads multiple environmental protection initiatives including its Habitat Enhancement Program; Non-Road Diesel Emissions program; and Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation Program (ECHO).

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