Port of Quebec: building for the future with citizens
In June, the Port of Quebec will host AIVP’s 16th World Conference. The event will also mark the thirtieth anniversary of AIVP’s creation, and the “Next Generation” will be at the heart of the debate. How is the future of the Port of Quebec being shaped? What are the four major projects now seen as key to its future and that of the city’s residents?
At AIVP’s World Conference in 2012, Mario Girard, President & CEO of the Port of Quebec and Vice-President of AIVP, emphasised the importance of developing port projects in complete transparency, involving citizens and the local community. This focus on dialogue between the city, port and citizens also led the Port of Quebec, in 2016, to sign the Port Center Missions Charter and join the AIVP Port Center network. The four projects described here perfectly illustrate this commitment to building the future of the port city of Quebec together, as part of an inclusive approach. Our 16th World Conference will no doubt afford an opportunity for a first-hand look at this strategy for a Next Generation port city.
The Port of Quebec is a member of AIVP since 2011
Beauport 2020, a revised project to consolidate the Port of Quebec’s status as an essential gateway to the North American continen
With a natural harbour depth of 15 metres at low tide, its location at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence / Great Lakes corridor, and its multimodal capabilities, the Port of Quebec is a strategic gateway between the rest of the world and the industrial and agricultural heartlands of North America. It serves a market of some 100 million consumers in the American Midwest. The port has seen sustained growth over the last decade, and is now operating at close to full capacity. Against a backdrop of bigger and bigger ships since the spectacular work on the Panama Canal, and rising competition with ports on the east coast of the United States, the port authorities are keen to expand capacity in order to maintain existing activities and open up new economic opportunities. In its Vision 2030, the Quebec government reaffirmed its commitment to consolidating Quebec’s role as a hub for transatlantic trade. The Beauport 2020 project is part of that ambition.
Details of the project were submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in August 2015, and a number of studies and environmental assessments have since been carried out. The Beauport site was chosen following a comparison of various potential sectors based on 17 technical, economic, environmental and social factors. The environmental impact study was submitted in December 2016. In addition, a wide-ranging public consultation was launched in January 2015, and is currently on-going. This process, and the various discussions held with the CEAA in 2017, allowed the port authorities to put forward a revised project in December 2017. The new proposals were presented to the public, with a further day of consultation organised on 21 February 2018.
- This latest consultation may result in adjustments to the project, but for now the main lines are as follows:The new facility will be devoted exclusively to container traffic: the depth will be increased to 16 metres, and the existing wharf will be extended by 610 metres. An area of 17.5 hectares will be developed behind the wharf. The breakwater will now not be built, and the beach adjoining the new terminal will not be reconfigured using the dredged sediment. This solution will ensure a minimal impact on habitats for all species of fish and seaweed in the zone. It also addresses concerns expressed by the Bay of Beauport Users’ Forum, a committee set up by the port, which was worried about disturbance caused by the construction phase, as well as the aesthetic impact and disruption to water sports practised in the Beauport area, once the terminal is up and running.
- An existing bank will be used as a buffer zone between the terminal and this part of the beach, which is used for recreational purposes. The bank will be extended and a wall of containers installed and covered with a green plant screen to reduce aesthetic impact and noise.
- As another environmental measure, the port has developed a pilot project to create sand martin nesting boxes at the site. A permanent location has been identified.
Expected to cost a total of CAN $ 400M, the new terminal will be capable of handling 8000+ TEUs and will have a capacity of 500,000 TEUs. According to a study by KPMG in December 2017, the container terminal could generate annual income of CAN$ 287.4M and 2710 direct and indirect jobs for the whole of Canada.
The Louise Basin: a port district for residents and an international brand image
The Louise Basin district is the historic heart of the Port of Quebec. The oil terminal and coal handling activities have gradually disappeared since the 1970s.
In 1983, the district and adjacent land were redeveloped to take their current form: the Port of Quebec marina, the promenade areas, parks, a cycling track, a vast car park, etc. The port activities are still here, including cereal trans-shipments, concrete and construction materials handling, and cruise ship passengers in the autumn.
The Port of Quebec is keen to revitalise this district. The aim is to maintain the existing port activities, while integrating them harmoniously into a new, high quality living environment designed both for local residents and international visitors.
The quality of the public spaces and the references to this historic part of the city will be guaranteed by developing a promenade and new green spaces, an urban beach, urban artworks, a market, and open meeting spaces with roofs in the shape of upturned shells, a reference to the former naval yards. A fun museum for children will also be created, reinforcing the commitment to ensuring the new district is lively and convivial. The residential offering will combine an apartment tower, houses and condos. The vision also includes plans for offices, a hotel, retail spaces, a marina and a conference centre.
The project has been presented to the local population via the Port’s website. This will enable the Port to make adjustments and put the revised plans to residents in 2018 as part of the public consultation procedure.
Cruise industry: supporting and expanding a dynamic sector
The new port district of the Louise Basin would also become an attractive new destination for cruise passengers from neighbouring La Pointe-à-Carcy, complementing the leisure facilities, promenade areas and restaurants already available at the site. The site also has a 6 hectare maritime museum and the Agora, an outdoor concert hall with a capacity of over 4,000.
Since 2000, the number of cruise passengers visiting has risen from 34,000 to reach 202,000 in 2017, when they were estimated to have spent some CAN$ 30M. That trend is continuing: In 2017 the Port was expected to host some 200,000 cruise passengers, an increase of 30% on the previous year, when Québec was named “Best Destination Experience” of the year by Cruise Insight magazine.
The Paquet wharf has been tested as an additional option, following an agreement between the port and the town of Lévis. It welcomed its first vessel, the MS Saga Sapphire, in October 2017.
The port has set itself a target capacity of 400,000 passengers by 2025 to support this growth and optimise the economic and tourist benefits for the City. Infrastructure development plans are also being studied, to improve the accommodation capacity of Quebec City and pave the way for future growth..
The Anse au Foulon port promenade
The project is symbolic of the proximity between the port installations and the urban environment of the Port of Quebec. It also reflects a commitment to ensuring harmonious coexistence between the port and the city, for the benefit of citizens.
Developed in 1927, the port district of Anse au Foulon was historically dedicated to naval construction and trans-shipment of wood. It was also home to an oil terminal and a passenger ferry terminal. In 2013, the Port decided to refocus bulk activities in the sector and make greater use of covered handling of goods, including the construction of a wood pellet terminal. The idea is to promote intermodality with a low carbon footprint.
The sector is very close to residential zones (Cap-Blanc and Mérici). The Port of Quebec saw an opportunity to create a new green interface between the port and city, as an extension of the Samuel de Champlain promenade, the famous entrance to the city.
It was also keen to use the project to showcase the existing port, by creating observation points and viewing towers, and by the lighting of the facilities.
The port’s history and heritage are also showcased by street furniture and the installation of large panels illustrating the port’s history at hangar n°101. Of the 9.5 hectares concerned between the Gilmour Coast and the Anse Brown basin, nearly 2.2 hectares of the port land will be re-used. The initial project was presented to the local community via the website in 2014. Work began in 2016, for an estimated total cost of CAN$ 12M.