So why was the Vancouver Convenction Centre (VCC) habitat skirt built?
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) actually required marine habitat compensation in order for the expansion project to be approved.
Prior to November 2013, DFO used to have two pieces of legislation to protect fish habitat from damage: the Fisheries Act, which used to deem the “harmful alteration or disruption, or the destruction, of fish habitat” illegal (unless authorized by the Minister of DFO with specific conditions to be met), and the Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat, which was based on ensuring “no net loss” of fish habitat. Together, the Act and the Policy made it possible for DFO to require habitat compensation for any projects or activities that had aspects of fish habitat loss.
The expansion of the VCC was one of those projects requiring compensation as it affected a total of 50 m of shoreline and 140 m2 of marine habitat. DFO required the expansion project to come up with and put into place a plan to compensate for the habitat they affected.