Opponents of a contentious coal transfer facility are hoping Fraser Surrey Docks will stumble over the final hurdles required to build its facility which will ship four-million metric tonnes of US coal to Texada Island.
Local resident Paula Williams says Metro Vancouver should not grant the proponent it’s air quality permits- despite Port Metro Vancouver giving the green light to construction today .
“I am confident that when the chief medical health officers as well as Metro Vancouver take a look at the most recent information that has come out from the Port; they will not grant the air quality permit.”
Williams says she is concerned about coal dust and diesel particulates from trains.
“What was required should be an independent, comprehensive, health impact assessment for the entire coal corridor.”
New Westminster city councillor Chuck Puchmayr questions if the second environmental impact study was “independent.”
“I think the studies are like when you go to court and hire an expert witness to give evidence to support your case. It seems having SNC Lavalin, a proponent doing an analysis to see if this is good for the community or not, to be it’s almost laughable.”
Director of the Beyond Coal Campaign at the Dogwood Initiative, Laura Benson, says the port authority is not accountable to the public.
“The problem is that it’s been left up to the Port Authority, which is a group of unelected bureaucrats Ottawa-appointed board members to decide what level of risk is acceptable to those of us who live here.”
Kevin WashBrook with Voters Taking Action Against Climate Change says it’s disappointing the port did not take public health officials up on their offer to participate in the review process.
“They’ve asked from the get go to be involved and the port said no we will do this ourselves, because they don’t want to set a precedent of having local input in these decisions.”
Peter Xotta, vice-president of planning and operations at the port authority, said the decision was not made lightly.
“We have required extensive analysis,” said Xotta.
The permit decision brings to an end a process that has dragged on for almost two years.
The B.C. Chamber of Commerce welcomed the facility’s approval, saying the $15-million project will create 25 direct jobs and 25 indirect jobs.
Every day, a coal train hauling 125 cars will arrive at the docks from the American Midwest to be transferred onto two barges bound for carriers waiting at Texada Island.
From there it will be shipped to Asia.