Esquimalt Harbour Recapitalization and Remediation Projects


Esquimalt (British Columbia) – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Esquimalt Harbour, located to the west of downtown Victoria, BC, is the home port of Canada's west coast navy at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Esquimalt. In addition to the long-time naval presence over the past 170 years, many types of industries have operated in the harbour, including civilian and military shipbuilding and repair, commercial and military ship operations, and sawmilling. Today, this harbour is important to the Canadian Armed Forces and the Department of National Defence, not only as home port for the Royal Canadian Navy’s Pacific Fleet, but also as the home of our neighbours – the residents of the surrounding municipalities and the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations.

The navy presence began in the late 1840s with the establishment of the British Royal Navy dockyard in the Constance Cove area of the harbour. Over the next half century, the British and Canadian governments would furnish the port with the facilities necessary to create a naval dockyard. The dockyard transitioned to the newly-formed Royal Canadian Navy in 1910 and, over the last century, CFB Esquimalt has grown to encompass 41 square kilometres surrounding Esquimalt Harbour. The harbour, which abuts CFB Esquimalt and associated DND properties to the north, east, south and west, as well as First Nations land and residential properties to the north of the Dockyard, was designated a Federal Harbour in 1924, and transferred to the management of DND in 2005.

DND has been upgrading and rehabilitating its aging military infrastructure at CFB Esquimalt over the last 25 years and actively remediating contaminated soil ashore and harbour-seabed sediments that have accumulated the effects of almost two centuries of civilian and military industrial activity.

In 2013, DND announced plans to replace the two main jetties, designated “A” and “B”, at CFB Esquimalt’s dockyard. The three-phase project involves the installation of modern jetties or ship berthing facilities that will provide for Canada’s current and future Pacific Naval Fleet. Concurrent with this A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project, DND is also undertaking the Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project that will significantly reduce ecological and human health risks associated with the contaminated sediments found in the harbour.

A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project

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 at dockyard are more than 70 years old and are well beyond their originally-intended service life. While they have served the navy extremely well, the condition of these jetties is such that they need to be replaced by structurally sound, larger and more versatile berthing facilities for the Royal Canadian Navy’s current and future Pacific Naval Fleet.

The A/B Jetty project is synchronized with Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy that will deliver modern ships to the Royal Canadian Navy over the next 30 years. CFB Esquimalt will be home to several of these Canadian-built vessels and, upon completion of the project, the new A/B Jetty facility will be capable of simultaneously accommodating up to four Halifax-class frigates, two new Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ships, one new Joint Support Ship and one Victoria-class submarine.

The A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project is divided into three phases. This approach is meant to ensure that critical site preparation work is done first and that one of the two jetties will be operational over the duration of the project.

Phase 1, completed in 2014, involved a construction contract with Scansa Construction Ltd., of Victoria, BC, as the general contractor. A nearly one-kilometer long utility corridor or service tunnel was built, to bring utility services through the dockyard and down to the head of the existing “B” Jetty. Pipes along one side carry the sanitary sewer, steam, and potable water mains, while communications and electrical services run along the other side of the tunnel.

Phase 2, to replace the existing “B” Jetty, will be done in two stages. Phase 2A, for which a contract has just been tendered by Defence Construction Canada, involves the demolition of the existing “B” Jetty, dredging work and significant site preparation work within the terrestrial and foreshore areas of this part of the Dockyard. Phase 2B will follow along about 24 to 30 months later, with the construction of the new “B” Jetty itself.
Phase 3 will demolish and ultimately replace the existing “A” Jetty. This final phase represents a similar work plan that is expected to unfold through the early 2020s.

The procurement and installation of a new rail crane for each of the two new jetties, used for the loading and unloading of warships, will be synchronized with the jetty construction work as it unfolds.

The new A/B jetties will be constructed on pipe-piles that will be anchored into the bedrock. A robust structural system will tie the piles together using heavy-duty reinforced concrete beams and decking. New and upgraded shore facilities, equipment, and ancillary structures along with the rail cranes, will complete the new jetty facilities. The utility service tunnel and the associated utility service mains that were built during Phase 1 of the project will be extended underneath each of the new jetties.

The A/B Jetty Recapitalization Project currently represents an investment commitment of $781 million (including GST). The figure includes all prior year expenditures and ongoing design work that has been steadily maturing the concept for the new jetty facilities since 2012. The balance of this large project will take about seven years to complete.

Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project

The Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project (EHRP) was initiated to address harbour seabed sediments that had been contaminated by historical commercial and military operations. After significant investigation work, several areas of the harbour seabed have been identified as priority sites that merit proactive environmental remediation work. Under the EHRP, DND will remediate the seabed areas adjacent to the navy’s “A”, “B”, “C” and “Y” Jetties and the contaminated areas of Lang Cove. Separate remediation projects, underway or being planned for the future, have or will address additional contaminated seabed areas in Esquimalt Harbour near “D” Jetty and “F/G” Jetty, as well as the recent cleanup by Public Services and Procurement Canada adjacent to the Esquimalt Graving Dock.

The work of the DND remediation projects involves the removal of contaminated sediments from the harbour seabed by dredging. All dredged materials will be disposed of in an environmentally safe manner. Ocean disposal of dredged sediments will not be done. All contaminated sediment will be transported to a disposal facility that is permitted by provincial authorities expressly for receiving such material. Dredge Material Management Plans are also developed during the execution of the work, with the applicable dredging contractors, to ensure that the dredged sediments are appropriately analyzed and managed prior to disposal.

DND assigns a high priority to its environmental programs and is committed to conducting its operations in ways that protect and respect human health and the environment. The remediation of the Esquimalt Harbour is part of the 15-year Federal Contaminated Sites Action Plan established in 2005 to address federal contaminated sites presenting the highest health and ecological risks. The Esquimalt Harbour Remediation Project alone represents an investment of up to $160 million.

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