A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project and Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project

A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project Background

The Department of National Defence (DND) is continuing with its efforts to transform the Dockyard waterfront at CFB Esquimalt into a modern site for the 21st century. The existing “A” and “B” Jetties are over 70 years old, originally built in the World War II era, and are well beyond their service life. The condition of these jetties is such that they need to be replaced to provide structurally sound berthing facilities for Canada’s current and future Pacific Naval Fleet.

DND is proposing to replace the existing “A” and “B” Jetties in Constance Cove at CFB Esquimalt and, at the same time, to undertake work to remove and remediate contaminated areas of the harbour seabed and foreshore fill within Esquimalt Harbour.

The A/B Jetty Project supports Canada’s National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy that will deliver modern ships to the Royal Canadian Navy over the next 30 years. The proposed A/B Jetty will be home to several of these Canadian-built vessels, including the new Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship and Joint Support Ship.

Industrial activity and releases from storm sewers, surface runoff, and groundwater discharges have impacted harbour sediments. While environmental practices and procedures have been established to prevent further contamination from occurring, historical contamination is an ongoing problem for the ecosystem that needs to be addressed; DND has conducted investigations within Esquimalt Harbour to identify areas with high levels of contaminated sediment for remediation. The remediation will considerably reduce the exposure of marine life to contaminated sediments and will provide healthier habitat for marine communities.

About the Proposed Projects Overview

The projects are currently going through the Federal Government’s project approval process. At the same time, design work is being finalized and necessary regulatory reviews are underway. During these reviews, DND is committed to sharing information about the proposed projects and providing opportunities for questions from CFB Esquimalt’s neighbours.

The A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project will include:

  • Decommissioning, demolition and disposal of existing “A” and “B” jetties, equipment, jetty cranes, buildings and utility services;
  • Dredging of the seabed and blasting of bedrock within the jetty footprint to achieve sufficient water depth for ship operations;
  • Remediation of contaminated sediments through dredging and disposal or capping;
  • Construction of the jetty substructure including: retaining walls, piles, beams and service access tunnels;
  • Construction of the jetty decking and the placement of utility and service lines in the below-deck tunnels;
  • Grading and paving of expanded Jetty-Apron space to improve access to berthed ships; and,
  • Construction of electrical sub-station, ancillary buildings and two rail mounted cranes associated with jetty operations.

Harbour Remediation activities planned for 2016 and 2017 include :

  • Clean-up of contaminated sediments at D Jetty and between F and G jetties in Colwood.. This clean-up work will entail dredge and dispose of contaminated sediments and place clean fill materials to return the F/G Jetty  and D-Jetty areas to their original depth and surface conditions.
  • The remediation around D Jetty and between F/G Jetty will involve the temporary removal and relocation of some infrastructure (e.g.,floats and piles). As such the remediation of these two areas will involve some pile driving and placement of backfill materials.

Proposed Timeline & Phasing

The A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project was announced by the Minister of National Defence in 2013. Currently, DND is completing design for this project, as well as initiating the Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project (EHRP).

The goals of the A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project are to complete the new “B” Jetty portion of the integrated berthing facility by 2021 and to have the new “A” Jetty in operational service by 2024. The demolition, dredging and construction activities will be phased to ensure that one of the two jetties is available to berth ships of the Royal Canadian Navy at all times during the construction period.

The EHRP work will occur concurrently with the jetty project. The first stage of the EHRP is the remediation of the sediments north of ‘A’ Jetty.  The remediation of sediments around A-Jetty began March 2016 and was completed by September 2016 with approximately 12,000 m3 of contaminated materials being removed from the Harbour.

The remediation of contaminated sediments around D-Jetty and between F/G began in December 2016 and is anticipated to be completed by May 2017.

Additional remediation activities are planned in various locations in Esquimalt Harbour to improve the health of the harbour.

Key Project Facts

How does this project fit with other initiatives occurring in Esquimalt Harbour?

Esquimalt Harbour has been the location of naval operations and an active industrial harbour for over 150 years. During this span, previous practices have contributed to contamination. DND has conducted investigations to assess seabed sediment quality and to also identify foreshore areas for remediation. The “A” Jetty and “B” Jetty areas are among the priority sites identified for environmental remediation work in DND’s Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project.

Public Works and Governments Service Canada (PWGSC) has recently conducted extensive remediation work of the seabed around their Esquimalt Graving Dock site.

In the contaminated near-shore area around and beneath the A/B Jetty Project site, the remediation work will involve removal of contaminated sediments by dredging and capping of these areas through the placement of clean fill. This will considerably reduce exposure of marine life to contaminated sediments and provide diverse habitat for marine communities.

As a steward of Esquimalt Harbour, CFB Esquimalt constructed a series of underwater reefs near the western entrance to the harbour in 2012.

The remediation of other areas of Esquimalt Harbour is planned to occur over the next four years. 

What are the benefits of these projects?

The A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project and Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project are key investments in the future. This infrastructure modernization and environmental stewardship work brings economic and human health benefits to the region and operational benefits to the Royal Canadian Navy, including:

  • Short-term construction and material/equipment-supply employment opportunities;
  • Growth potential in the field of marine construction work;
  • Long-term improvements to naval response preparedness and disaster readiness;
  • Long-term operational efficiencies at CFB Esquimalt; and,
  • Long-term marine environment improvements within the waters of Esquimalt Harbour.

What steps have already occurred?

Various jetty-berthing configurations, engineering options and construction methods for the new A and B Jetties have been investigated. Various science-based options for managing contamination of harbour seabed sediments have also been examined.

The selected implementation plans represent the best options considering operations, costs, environmental improvements and long term performance.

A utility corridor has been constructed to bring utilities to the new jetty complex as well the remediation of contaminated sediments adjacent to A-Jetty has been completed.

What will the noise level from construction be like?

Noise will occur during the demolition and construction phases. During this time, it is anticipated that the primary noise impacts could come from jetty pile drilling/driving and rock blasting work. Following construction, operation of the jetties is not anticipated to be any different from present day activities.

What will the traffic impacts be during construction?

Because the construction site and the dredging locations lie well away from areas close to the general public, the work itself will have no appreciable impact on public traffic, except the potential for movement of construction material to and from the Base. It is anticipated that the successful construction contractors will opt to undertake some of these movements via barge, limiting impacts on public roads; but it is likely that some material movements will occur by truck. The contractors will be responsible for developing acceptable plans that limit public impacts from movement of construction materials to and from the work sites.

Will construction and dredging site activities affect the health of people living nearby?

No negative health impacts are anticipated for residents living on the Esquimalt Harbour waterfront or in neighbourhoods near CFB Esquimalt related to this work. The remediation efforts of both projects will have positive, long-term health improvements for the surrounding area by contributing to the improvement of the marine environment in Esquimalt Harbour.

Work-execution planning will involve health and safety and noise considerations in accordance with DND’s Environmental Assessment. Contractor activities will be carefully monitored by DND and Defence Construction Canada officials throughout all stages of the project to identify and minimize residual risks and hazards related to site activities.

What environmental considerations have been made?

The removal of debris from the demolition work and the removal and disposal of dredged material will result in overall improvements to the environmental health of Esquimalt Harbour.

The planned in-filling of some existing foreshore areas at the CFB Esquimalt Dockyard and removal of the existing jetty piles will result in a permanent habitat loss. However, new habitat creation, including placed armour stone, new piles and sheet pile walls will provide higher quality replacement habitat to compensate for this loss. In addition, the 2012 development of a series of artificial reefs at the western entrance of the harbour, by DND and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, contribute to improved environmental health and new habitat within the harbour.

DND will develop a Habitat Compensation Plan to ensure adequate compensation is completed. A formal follow-up program will be implemented to verify the effectiveness of the new habitat to ensure it is functioning as intended and that establishment and productivity is successful.

What studies/surveys are being done for the project?

The DND project team continues to complete studies to analyze existing conditions and support the work of both projects. The following technical reviews are among those that have been completed to date:

  • Marine habitat surveys;
  • Marine sediments and sediment coring investigations;
  • Underwater hazards sweep;
  • Marine and upland Archaeological Impact Assessments;
  • Geotechnical drilling; and,
  • Acoustic study.

DND has completed an Environmental Assessment for the A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project. As part of this Environmental Assessment process, the project will conduct periodic information sessions to provide CFB Esquimalt’s neighbours with an opportunity to learn more about the projects.

As the A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project and the Harbour Remediation projects advance in the coming years, the project teams will continue to provide updates through the Esquimalt Harbour website.

How can I provide input?

DND is committed to sharing information about the A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project and the remediation of Esquimalt Harbour and understanding and documenting questions, concerns and input from CFB Esquimalt’s neighbours and harbour users.

Members of the public are encouraged to ask questions or share feedback about the projects.

Questions or comments can be submitted to the project team:

By email cfbesquimalt@outlook.com

By mail
A/B Jetty & Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project Office
c/o Base Public Affairs
Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt
PO Box 17000 Stn Forces
Victoria BC  V9A 7N2

How will my input be considered?

Input received will be used to identify concerns and to develop appropriate mitigation strategies through the design/planning and contracting processes for each project. Input received will be documented and will form part of the project records that may be used during regulatory reviews and eventual directions for the successful contractors.

Public Information Session -   A Public Information Session for the A/B Jetties Recapitalization Project and the Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project at CFB Esquimalt took place March 25, 2015 at the Songhees Wellness Centre.