Taking Precautions to build a better future at the Port
Meet the person who ensures Gateway projects follow specific environmental regulations
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May. 3, 2021 6:00 a.m. | IMPRESS
No major project can proceed at the Port of Prince Rupert without undergoing multiple evaluations, and the person who leads the charge when it comes to environmental aspects is Jack Smith, the Prince Rupert Port Authority’s Director of Environmental Planning and Compliance.
As the Port Authority’s regulatory representative, Smith helps the Prince Rupert Port Authority maintain its commitment to sustainability by implementing management plans, federal policy, and regulatory conditions that relate to the Gateway’s environmental performance. That means examining possible impacts on water and air quality, vegetation, wildlife and their habitats.
“We must consider and weigh every aspect of an operation, to make sure rules are being followed, potential hazards are identified and mitigated, and every effort is made to protect the ecosystems that make up our Gateway,” Smith says.
The planning process that protects us all
Part of Smith’s role includes ensuring proposed development follows the rigorous standards set out by the Government of Canada’s environmental legislation, including the Impact Assessment Act. Although many factors weigh into the final decisions on whether projects ultimately proceed, Smith is tasked with ensuring environmental compliance is integrated throughout the planning and regulatory processes. This includes coordinating with other government agencies that are also responsible for regulatory oversight, and ensuring that Indigenous and public feedback, concerns, and interests are considered.
No matter the size and scope of the project, Smith and his team apply the same critical thinking skills and assessment of science-based evidence to evaluations, with the goal of ensuring assets that will contribute to Port growth and diversification do not adversely affect the environment.
“We have a legal duty to ensure processes are followed and that all requirements are met, but we also have a societal duty to our community to protect the places where we live and work,” said Smith. “We want our Port to be held to the highest standard for our long-term operational sustainability and for continued enjoyment of the people living on the North Coast.”