Saguenay, QC – The marine terminal project on the North Shore of the Saguenay River has just taken a step that is essential to its completion following the approval of the project by the Honorable Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The Minister’s approval of the projects implementation came after several public consultations, as well as a thorough and rigorous environmental impact assessment conducted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA).
While expressing “full awareness that there are other steps to be taken before the first shovel of earth,” the General Manager and CEO of the Saguenay Port Authority, Carl Laberge, is pleased. “This happy news that allows us to move closer to the realization of this promising and growth-generating project that we have already worked on for several years now. We are therefore taking action with the same approach that we have favored until now, that is to say with openness, rigor and transparency. We are doing this together with the citizens and stakeholders in order to promote a harmonious cohabitation of the project with the community and the environment which is a decisive factor in the development of our region.”
The Minister’s Decision Statement establishes more than 70 conditions to protect the environment, including marine mammals, fish and fish habitat, birds, the natural and cultural heritage and human health, and includes mitigation measures and requirements for a follow-up program that the Saguenay Port Authority must fulfill.
For example, to prevent potential effects of the project on the belugas in the Estuary of the St. Lawrence, the proponent will be required to ensure a visual monitoring, and order work stoppage in the presence of belugas during construction. The proponent will also be required to run a real-time monitoring of subaquatic noise levels caused by work in the aquatic environment.
This decision follows a thorough and science-based environmental assessment conducted by the Agency with the participation of the public, First Nations, and expert federal departments including Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Transport Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Parks Canada, and the provincial ministry of le Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques.
Following this decision, the proponent will be required to obtain additional authorizations and permits from Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. The Agency will be responsible for monitoring and enforcing legally-binding conditions under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.
“My decision is based on rigorous scientific evidence, expertise from federal departments and extensive consultations with the public and First Nations” stated McKenna. “The Saguenay Port Authority will have to adhere to the established conditions to ensure the implementation of mitigation measures that reduce the risks on the beluga in the St. Lawrence Estuary. We are committed to ensuring that informed decision-making is supportive of sustainable development while providing opportunities for economic growth for all Canadians.”