PAC 3 Deconstruction Project Summary

Viterra is upgrading its Pacific Port Terminal facility at 1803 Stewart Street, Vancouver. Facility upgrades to date have included the installation of a new low emission ship loader, a new air emission system, new low emission truck loaders, upgrades to automation systems to reduce energy usage and the removal of the obsolete ship loading and conveyance systems.
The facility upgrades scheduled for 2019/2020 include the deconstruction of the PAC 3 Elevator, which incorporates the No. 3 Annex and workhouse, Track Shed and Screw Bridge (PAC 3) (See Facility Map).
Project Rationale
PAC 3 was built in 1918, sitting dormant until 1923 when the Vancouver Harbour Commission acquired control. Ownership changed to Federal Grain in 1967. From the late 1990’s use of the facility was limited due to degradation of the grain bins. The facility was evaluated for potential upgrades, however it was deemed unsuitable for retrofitting due to building envelope integrity issues. In 2010, PAC 3 was permanently shut down and all conveyance equipment removed as per CFIA regulations, although fire protection and other safety protocols have been maintained to date.
At over 100 years old, the facility has reached the end of its useful life span, being unused now for almost nine years and completely unoccupied for the last two years. As an aged and unoccupied structure, it has experienced decay and erosion and currently poses a safety risk with the potential to negatively impact neighbouring infrastructure, the community and Viterra employees. In consultation with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (VFPA), Viterra has determined that the only reasonable course of action at this stage is to commence responsible deconstruction activities of PAC 3.
PAC 3 Permitting History
Since 2015 Viterra has worked closely with specialist contractors and consulting engineers to develop protocols and documentation, required under the (1) VFPA Project Permitting Guidelines (See VFPA project website:; and (2) WorkPlace BC Safety Regulations, which establish the rules to ensure protection of the community, workers and the environment.
This project has received all necessary permits and approvals including the VFPA permit for the Pacific Elevator No. 3 (PAC 3) deconstruction at Pacific Elevators Terminal, following a robust and thorough Project and Environmental Review process. In addition, the Notice of Project (NOP) with written work procedures has been submitted to WorkSafe BC.
Human Health and Environment
As part of the permitting process, Viterra, in collaboration with its contractors and consultants, developed a comprehensive Construction Environmental Management Plan (CEMP). The CEMP incorporated a hazardous materials (Hazmat) assessment report, which summarized the collection and analysis of over 500 samples, identified potential areas of risk to human health and the environment and, established strategies for mitigating those risks.
As presented in the Hazmat report, light ballasts and machinery inside the building contain PCB’s and mercury. Asbestos is present in drywall mud, window putty, mastic patches and caulking. On the exterior of the building, asbestos is present in window putty, flanges and gaskets of machinery and in the mastic. Samples of surface sealants etc., were also collected for analysis and results indicate no asbestos is present.
Risk management related to hazardous materials and dust have been further refined under a Hazardous Materials Abatement Plan and Air Emissions Management Plan. While abatement controls as presented in the plans prevent exposure to hazardous materials, Viterra sets safety as its highest priority and as such has retained a consulting engineering firm to perform quality inspections and quality control functions of abatement activities completed by the prime contractor’s abatement consulting firm.
Is Viterra responsible for posting a warning notice titled “East Van Site Demolition” on buildings and power poles around the neighbourhood that alleges the possible release of hazardous materials in the air related to the deconstruction of PAC 3 off Powell Street (near Victoria Street)?
No, Viterra is not responsible for posting this notice.
Viterra uses Canada Post to deliver notices directly to community residents and publishes those notices on the PAC 3 project website. Documents circulated by other means, which are not present on Viterra’s website have not been developed by Viterra, and have been disseminated without Viterra’s knowledge, input or consent. The posters contain a significant amount of misinformation, causing unnecessary apprehension within the community.
What experience do Viterra’s contractors have to mitigate the release of fine particulate matter onto nearby residential neighbourhoods?
The deconstruction contractor was selected for the PAC 3 deconstruction project based on their significant experience and ability to successfully complete the deconstruction of tall concrete structures in highly sensitive, close proximity settings, including: commercial rail, neighbouring businesses, utilities and structures, residential dwellings, high water table and marine environments). Recent work by the deconstruction contractor within Vancouver includes:
Deconstruction of a former gymnasium and school annex at a local secondary school during full ongoing operation of the school. The deconstruction of the concrete structure involved the use of a high reach excavator with smaller support excavators. Active dust suppression using water contained the deconstruction dust within the work area and prevented release to the adjacent occupied classroom and playground areas.
Deconstruction of an 8-storey concrete office building located in a busy city block in the West End of Vancouver adjacent to an operational daycare/nursery and residential apartment buildings. Dust was managed by a series of measures including perimeter water misting and water spraying at the deconstruction equipment attachments during work.
Is it accurate that during deconstruction it is not safe for area residents to use playgrounds and outdoor areas in our neighbourhood near the deconstruction?
This assertion was presented on a warning notice distributed by an unknown source and NOT by Viterra. The Hazardous Materials Abatement and Air Emission management strategies used during the deconstruction project have been specifically developed to mitigate exposure. As such, there are no concerns with the use of community gardens, use of public areas (pools, playgrounds, etc.) or having windows open at home or work in areas near the deconstruction. Viterra’s PAC1 and PAC2 structures, which are not part of the deconstruction, are located immediately adjacent to the east of the work area and will remain fully operational during the project, with normal Viterra employee activities uninterrupted onsite during the deconstruction period.
What safety measures are in place to protect the public?
As discussed more fully in the Air Emission Management Plan and Hazardous Materials Abatement Plan, several abatement techniques will be used for the project including containment, exclusion zones, and misting (dust suppression). Performance levels will be constantly measured through on-going visual assessments and air particulate monitoring by the contractor’s abatement consultant. These results, and the compliance of activities within the Air Emission Management Plan and Hazardous Materials Abatement Plans, will be achieved through on-going evaluations completed by Viterra’s third party quality control consultant.
What are deconstruction project timelines?
The expected date of completion for the deconstruction project is May 2020.
Is there a plan to address any increased project risks due to wind and excessive rain?
As part of normal activities, the contractors will complete a daily risk analysis of planned tasks prior to start of all deconstruction activities. In cases where weather presents a risk to safety, the daily tasks will be rescheduled or appropriate plans implemented to mitigate risks.
Should I be concerned about the long-term health effects to my children and myself?
The methods and controls described in the Air Emission Management Plan and Hazardous Materials Abatement Plan are developed by highly experienced and qualified abatement personnel and accepted as appropriate abatement techniques by the Ministry of Environment, BC WorkPlace Safety and VFPA. On the basis that emissions are controlled, there are no concerns related to health effects on the neighbouring community residents, abatement/construction workers or neighbouring companies.
Has there been information on the deconstruction project previously provided to the public?
Dissemination of project information was determined and conducted by VFPA in 2016 under the VFPA project permitting process (VFPA Project Permitting Website: As required in the VFPA permit, Viterra’s public notification was delivered to area residents by Canada Post in May 2019 to inform the neighbouring community that the deconstruction operations were proceeding while also providing community stakeholders with Viterra and VFPA contact points.