The Montreal Port Authority (MPA) has been busy completing a number of sector studies that have enhanced its environmental impact statement for its Contrecoeur Port Terminal Expansion Project.
The MPA submitted the first version of the environmental impact statement to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in September. The statement includes an introduction and overview of the project, a project justification, a project description, a description of public participation and concerns, documentation of Aboriginal engagement and concerns, an effects assessment, a summary of the environmental affects assessment, and information on monitoring and follow-up programs.
The MPA had submitted the project description to the CEAA in December 2015. Following a public consultation process, the CEAA issued in March 2016 its guidelines for the environmental impact statement for the project.
The MPA has proposed the construction of a container port terminal with a maximum annual capacity of 1.15 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent unit containers) on its property located in Contrecoeur, approximately 40 kilometres downstream from Montreal. The project includes the construction of a 675-metre dock for two berths to accommodate vessels between 39,000 and 75,400 deadweight tons. The project also includes a seven-track classification yard, a container storage and handling area, an intermodal railyard, support facilities, rail and road accesses and a truck control area.
“The Port of Montreal will reach its maximum handling capacity on its island of Montreal territory with the development of the Viau sector into a container-handling site,” said Sylvie Vachon, President and CEO of the MPA. “The Contrecoeur project will be the next phase of port expansion and ensure the port’s long-term future through the establishment of a new container terminal there. This is the key project to ensure the future of the container market for Montreal and Quebec.”
Further to the pre-consultation process initiated by the MPA in 2014 and in order to enhance its sector studies, the MPA organized two activities – thematic workshops and a two-day open house – this past spring so that it could consult extensively with several stakeholders affected by the project.
The MPA invited numerous organizations to the day of thematic workshops held on March 21. Some 40 participants representing stakeholders from the economic, logistics, municipal, environmental and other fields took part in the productive and constructive day.
The MPA presented a preliminary snapshot of the sector studies it had conducted for the environmental impact statement. Participants were able to inform themselves, ask questions and comment on various subjects. The MPA used those comments and recommendations to complete the statement.
Next, two open house activities were held on May 24 and 25 in the City of Contrecoeur and the nearby Municipality of Verchères, respectively.
The objectives of the open houses were to report on the progress of the project and the environmental impact statement, and to gather comments and concerns from citizens in order to integrate them, to the extent possible, into the statement. A total of 213 people attended the open houses.
It is expected that the Contrecoeur container terminal could be put into service by the middle of the next decade, conditional to the MPA obtaining the required authorizations and factors such as continued growth of the containerized cargo market and positive impacts from the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union.
Information on the CEAA process is available at: www.ceaa.gc.ca/050/details-eng.cfm?evaluation=80116.