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Commissioner Street Rail Expansion Project PER No. 21-042

Canadian Pacific (CP) is proposing to expand its existing railway infrastructure in Vancouver to improve capacity and fluidity on the south shore of the Port of Vancouver. The public is invited to learn about the Commissioner Street Rail Expansion Project and provide input.

Approximately 40 percent of this project is within the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority jurisdiction, and the balance of the work is understood to be within the CP right-of-way and a small portion under the jurisdiction of the City of Vancouver. View a map of the project area showing jurisdiction here.

The project is subject to review under the port authority's Project and Environmental Review (PER) process, which includes requirements for engagement with stakeholders, the public and Indigenous groups, in addition to other technical requirements. See the port authority’s webpage for this project here.

Public Engagement

From November 18 – December 22, 2021, CP invited the public to learn about the proposed project and provide input. There were several ways to participate including an online information session, a feedback form and providing feedback by mail, email and phone.

All feedback received throughout the engagement period has been summarized and considered by CP. The Commissioner Street Rail Expansion Project Summary and Consideration Report can be found in the Supporting Documents section of this webpage. CP thanks all those who provided their input.

About the project

CP is proposing to expand its existing railway infrastructure in Vancouver to improve capacity and fluidity on the south shore of the Port of Vancouver. The proposed rail expansion project is funded by CP with financial support from the Government of Canada through the National Trade Corridors Fund. The proposed expansion is being undertaken as part of the Commissioner Street Road and Rail Realignment Project, within the Burrard Inlet Road and Rail Improvement Program. The program includes road improvements, led by the port authority, that will improve truck traffic flow and safe and efficient access to terminal facilities and make lands available for the installation of additional railway infrastructure by CP.

The Commissioner Street Rail Expansion Project includes two additional tracks proposed to the north of the existing rail yard between the Commissioner Street overpass and Victoria Drive in East Vancouver. The additional tracks are intended to increase storage capacity and improve operations for existing Port of Vancouver rail customers. 

Project components and what to expect from related construction activities

If approved, work is proposed to begin following the completion of work being led by the port authority on the Commissioner Street road realignment. Construction is anticipated to take nine months and work is scheduled to occur weekly and within the Port of Vancouver's regular hours from Monday through Saturday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. However, extended work hours may be required to meet key Project timelines and minimize disruptions to traffic and operations of Port tenants. A formal request to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA) to conduct construction outside of regular work hours, following the VFPA's PER Guidelines (February 2021), will be prepared and submitted as appropriate.

General activities:
  • Grading and drainage is expected to be completed using an excavator and dozer to remove material from the site and receive and place imported material.
  • Dump trucks will be used to remove and import materials, distributed through the day to streamline delivery.
  • The crossing warning system upgrades and water line realignment will involve construction along the north curb at Mariner Seafood and Columbia Container Ltd. tenant accesses.
  • General utility works, roadway works, and track work completed throughout the project limits. 
Utility protection/relocation and wall construction:
    • Pile installation equipment (pile driver or auger), concrete trucks, and vacuum trucks
    • These short-duration activities will likely represent the noisiest construction periods and will be localized to the Nanaimo Street crossing utility protection area and the retaining wall area at New Brighton Road near the Commissioner Street overpass. This work would happen between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., lasting for a few days in the fall months of 2022.
Removal activities:
    • Use of cutoff saws used for cutting asphalt and concrete. Jackhammering may be required on occasion.
    • Track and turnout construction and installation completed using power hand tools, a loader or loader equivalent, and on-track equipment including tampers, ballast regulators and work trains with railcars (ballast and track material). 

Project effects

An Environmental Management Plan has been prepared for the Project and has been submitted with the Category C PER application to the port authority. The Plan includes standard industry best practices and mitigation measures for the Project. When the construction contractor is engaged for this project, following PER approval, specific construction techniques to be used by the contractor will be identified and additional construction impact mitigation measures proposed.

The volume, speed, motive power and timing of trains arriving and departing the East L Yard area of the Port are not anticipated to change as a result of the proposed project. The new L30 and L31 tracks will allow operations to be optimized.

No direct effects are anticipated to:

  • Fish and fish habitat
  • Groundwater
  • Aquatic and terrestrial resources
  • Species at risk or of Special Concern
  • Marine operations, marine user groups or navigation
  • Use of lands and resources by Indigenous peoples
  • Views

No work will occur in Burrard Inlet or along the vegetated embankment on the south side of CP's existing tracks.

Potential effects Mitigation Residual effects

Air Quality

Potential temporary negative effects to local air quality from construction machinery/equipment during construction activities

The Project is expected to result in insignificant changes in air quality levels at adjacent residences located south of the project once operational.

Construction Environmental Management Plan outlines Best Management Practices employed to mitigate adverse effects, including complying with federal locomotive emission regulations, low-sulphur fuels, water spraying, proper inspection and maintenance of construction equipment, etc.

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation

Archaeology and cultural resources

Potential effects of ground disturbance activities during construction on archaeological resource potential

Chance-Find Procedure – stop work and notify interested Indigenous communities in the event of unexpected discovery of archaeological resources

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation


Potential risks to structures and other hazards

Design and installation of proposed project components to be informed by geotechnical investigations and in compliance with applicable engineering standards to prevent risks to structures and other hazards

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation

Noise, vibration and light

Potential temporary increases in noise levels and temporary negative effects of lighting generated during construction activities

Once the new tracks are operational, rail operations will be more efficient than operations that are in place currently. The Project is expected to result in insignificant changes in noise levels at adjacent residences

Appropriately scheduling timing of noisy construction activities, shrouding of stationary equipment and regular inspection/maintenance of construction equipment. Strategic positioning of lights to face away from residents

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation

Surface water and soils

Potential effects of construction activities on water quality of downstream receiving waterbodies and of contaminated soils requiring excavation

Construction Environmental Management Plan and Soil Characterization study include Best Management Practices for surface water and soil management, including erosion and sediment control measures implemented during construction, and appropriate stockpiling, handling and disposal procedures

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation


Potential temporary negative effects (e.g., reduced speed zones, detours, lane closures) to commercial traffic/operations using Commissioner Street during construction

No impacts are anticipated to traffic during operation since volumes are not anticipated to grow based on this project

Traffic control performed per the Port's approved contractor's traffic management plan, and where necessary, construction to occur outside of VFPA's Regular Work Hours

No significant residual adverse effects after mitigation

Project phases

  • Technical assessments – 2021
  • Project and Environmental Review permit application – Summer 2021
  • Public engagement period – Fall 2021
  • Final design – Winter 2022
  • Project Environmental Review permit determination – Winter 2022
  • Anticipated construction start (for works in the port authority’s jurisdiction) – Fall 2022
  • Anticipated construction completion – Fall 2023


  • Track Grade Construction Completion – January 15, 2023
  • Bell Fibre Relocation: February 1 – March 1, 2023
  • Rail Construction Start: May 1, 2023
  • MetroVancouver Sewer Protection Works at CCL Crossing: February – March or May – August 2023

Supporting documents

Commissioner Street Rail Expansion Project port authority webpage

For questions about the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority's (VFPA) Project and Environmental Review of the proposed project, please contact the port authority at or 604.665.9047.

As a Canada Port Authority, the port authority is governed by the Canada Marine Act, with a mandate to facilitate Canada's trade objectives, ensuring goods are moved safely, while protecting the environment and considering local communities.

Visit the port authority website for more information: