Improving Ecosystem Health
2020 Target: Become Salmon-Safe certified
2017 Result: Maintained Salmon-Safe certification
YVR strives to protect the ecosystem and reduce our impact on the environment. In 2017, we improved air and water quality, focused on minimizing wildlife hazards and maintained our Salmon-Safe certification—a 2020 Environmental Management Plan target that we achieved in 2016, four years ahead of schedule.
After Transport Canada transferred management of YVR to Vancouver Airport Authority in 1992, they remained financially responsible for all documented historical contaminated sites identified in the Ground Lease. Vancouver Airport Authority has a Contaminated Sites Program, which seeks to protect human health and the environment. We follow federal and provincial environmental guidance and procedures with respect to land reclamation under our Contaminated Sites Program, which consists of four key activities: Site Identification, Assigning Responsibility, Management Plans and Monitoring.
We monitor a number of historical contaminated sites that occurred prior to the formation of Vancouver Airport Authority and we will continue to work with Transport Canada to address these sites under our Contaminated Sites Program. In addition, we undertake island-wide water quality sampling and independent laboratory analysis to monitor the natural environment.
In 2017, two new contaminated sites were identified, both of which are related to historical activities. We conducted investigations and are implementing management plans to ensure protection of human health and the environment. We also conducted investigations of one area to better delineate contamination and develop options for remediation. Finally, we conducted several Environmental Site Assessments to verify existing conditions prior to the development or leasing of airport lands.
We did not have any contaminated sites requiring full remediation. Contaminated soil, encountered during construction, was removed to an approved off-site soil treatment facility.
Environmental Impact Assessments
We conduct environmental reviews of all proposed projects, in accordance with Section 67 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. These reviews identify potential impacts, such as loss of sensitive habitats, and include an analysis of potential social impacts. We conducted environmental reviews on more than 210 projects in 2017 and we are pleased to share that no projects were expected to result in significant effects. We also performed three archaeological assessments in 2017 and no new archaeological sites were identified.
Our Environment team regularly monitors construction projects to ensure mitigation efforts are implemented and remain effective. We conducted more than 150 site visits in 2017 to 17 major construction projects and dozens of minor projects. None of the projects were found to have caused adverse environmental or social effects of any significance.
In addition to environmental reviews and monitoring, YVR regularly conducts sustainability assessments for new operations and facilities through our Sustainability Case Document (SCD). The SCD helps us to narrow down options through a comprehensive matrix based on our social, governance, economic and environment pillars. In 2017 we continued to improve the SCD, developing a more robust approach that has become an integral part of our decision-making process.