The Katzie First Nation has asked for a federal impact assessment of CP Rail’s proposed expansion projects in Pitt Meadows.
The Impact Assessment Act came into force in August of 2019, as a new way for the federal government to assess major projects for their impact on the environment and human health, and gauge social and economic impacts. The impact assessment also looks at effects on indigenous peoples.
In a letter dated July 9, the Katzie asked Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson for an impact assessment of the CP Logistics Park Vancouver and the Pitt Meadows Road and Rail Improvements. While CP is separating the review and assessment of these two projects in processes it has already started, the Katzie say they are both expansions led by CP to the Vancouver Intermodal Facility, are connected, and have related impacts.
The 17-page letter signed by Chief Grace George and the rest of the Katzie councillors said there is potential for adverse impacts on the Katzie Slough, which is “critical rearing habitat in the Lower Fraser River watershed and as a culturally significant travel artery for [Katzie] prior to the colonization and industrial use of the area.”
CP is proposing the logistics park on 100 acres of farm land. It would include an agricultural hub where food products will be received by rail and loaded into shipping containers for export, an auto compound for vehicles bound for BC distributors, and a liquid energy transload for ethanol and transportation fuels.
The Road and Rail Improvements are an underpass for the crossing at Harris Road, an overpass at Kennedy Road, and track reconfiguration to accommodate an more train traffic.
The Katzie made the request based on the need for “a fair engagement and assessment process with reasonable timelines,” citing extensive opposition to the logistics park project from the public and the City of Pitt Meadows.
The Lower Fraser Fisheries Alliance, which represents 23 First Nations on the Lower Fraser River from Hope west, wrote in support of the Katzie request.
The public and City of Pitt Meadows have raised concerns about air pollution, fire hazards, loss of farmland, flooding, noise, light pollution, increased truck traffic and other issues. The city has not opposed the Road and Rail improvements.
Shannon Roberts, a farm owner who would be a neighbour of the proposed logistics park, said the Katzie have made a legitimate request.
“The Katzie First Nation recognize that the CP projects are related, geographically proximate, and should be assessed together,” said Roberts. “I agree that the projects will have significant adverse effects on their traditional territory and our community, and cumulative effects should be assessed by the federal impact assessment.”
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