Barges would carry coal from a proposed new loading facility at Fraser Surrey Docks down the Fraser River and northwest to Texada Island.

Barges would carry coal from a proposed new loading facility at Fraser Surrey Docks down the Fraser River and northwest to Texada Island.

Coal terminal critics bypass port, post comments to own site

Website organizers frustrated port not yet posting responses to contentious environmental assessment

Critics of a proposed coal export terminal at Fraser Surrey Docks have launched their own website to post comments in response to a newly released environmental impact assessment for the project.

Organizers of RealPortHearings.org say they were frustrated that Port Metro Vancouver has so far refused to post responses as they come in, and may merely release a summary of reaction instead.

Nearly 1,500 comments are so far posted on the site in response to the finding that the coal handling operations pose no serious threat to the environment or residents’ health.

The port’s 30-day deadline to receive public comments is Dec. 17.

Critics of the environmental assessment include the Lower Mainland’s chief medical health officers, who say it did not go far enough to explore potential health risks from coal dust and other impacts.

The $15-million terminal would bring more trains through White Rock and South Surrey to Fraser Surrey Docks, where coal would be loaded onto barges and shipped to Texada Island for transfer to larger ships.