A coal train rolls along White Rock's waterfront.

A coal train rolls along White Rock's waterfront.

Court date set for challenge of Surrey coal-terminal approval

Case set to be heard in Federal Court in Vancouver starting May 17, 2017.

Opponents who are challenging Port Metro Vancouver’s approval of Fraser Surrey Docks’ new coal-export terminal on the Fraser River will get their days in court next spring.

The case – filed two years ago on behalf of Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, the group Communities and Coal, its co-founder Paula Williams and Surrey resident Christine Dujmovich – is set to be heard in Federal Court in Vancouver starting May 17, 2017.

The applicants contend that the port authority was wrong to decide that the project would have no significant adverse effect on the environment. It will see at least four million tonnes per year of U.S. coal roll through White Rock and Surrey to FSD, where it will be loaded to ocean-going ships.

They also allege that port officials were unfair and biased in handling concerns about environmental and health impacts, in part because they collaborated closely with Fraser Surrey Docks on public messaging and monitoring opposition; and, allege port executives will personally benefit from giving the green light because their compensation is tied to the port’s revenue.

Both the City of New Westminster and the City of Surrey are interveners in the case.