TOPAZ Submarine Fibre-Optic Cable Update
July 15, 2021
The proposed submarine fibreoptic cable system – Topaz – consists of a main cable between Port Alberni, BC and, in Japan, Shima (Mie prefecture) to the South, and Takahagi (Ibaraki Prefecture) to the North. In addition, a second cable for future development will extend from Port Alberni and terminate at the headlands of Barkley Sound.
The Topaz submarine cable system will extend from an existing telecommunications facility near Canal Beach in Port Alberni and will follow Alberni Inlet to the ocean. The main cable will extend onto the continental shelf and then follow a Northern Pacific route to Japan. The second cable will terminate at the headlands of Barkley Sound and is intended to minimize nearshore disturbances when a second cable lands in Canada in the future.
The Canadian point of origin for the Topaz system will be an existing land-based communications facility located in Port Alberni. The cables will transition from the facility to a beach manhole via an underground duct measuring approximately 200 metre and located approximately 1.2 m below existing grade. From the beach manhole the cables will access Alberni Inlet. The system will be surface lain within Alberni Inlet with burial starting towards the mouth of Trevor Channel. Burial will be undertaken by towed plough from Barkley Sound headlands (approx. 100 m water depth) to approximately 1500 m water depth. The system will be surface laid in water depths greater than 1500 m. Cable installation within Canadian waters is anticipated to be completed within a 2 week timeframe during the late Spring of 2021.
This determination was based on a consideration of the following factors:
• impacts on rights of Indigenous peoples;
• Indigenous knowledge;
• community knowledge;
• comments received from the public; and
• technically and economically feasible mitigation measures.
Mitigation measures will be implemented for the following: seabed and sediment, marine water quality, marine fish and invertebrates, marine mammals, marine birds, atmospheric, acoustic and visual environment, marine use, land use, human health, heritage resources, indigenous rights.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada is satisfied that carrying out the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
Therefore, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada may carry out the project, exercise any power, perform any duty or function, or provide financial assistance to enable the project to be carried out in whole or in part.
Public Services and Procurement Canada
Mark McNeil, Senior Environmental Specialist
Email: [email protected]