New West doesn’t want coal port

New Westminster city council has formally opposed a coal-transfer facility proposed for Fraser Surrey Docks.

New Westminster city council has formally opposed a coal-transfer facility proposed for Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD).

Councillors had previously expressed concerns about the project which would see up to four million tonnes of coal shipped by train to FSD annually for transfer to barges that would take it to Texada Island to be loaded onto freighters. But after Port Metro Vancouver (PMV), which has approval authority over the application, was unable to clearly disclose all of the health implications of the project or disclose their internal environmental assessment, council decided on Monday to oppose the project.

FSD also denied the city’s requests for a public meeting in New Westminster to discuss its plans opting to hold all of them in Surrey. Council had also wanted PMV to conduct broad public consultation.

The action follows a petition of more than 1,000 signatures from Queensborough and Quayside residents worried about the potential for coal dust floating into their neighbourhoods, since they are directly north of the docks, or the possibility of a spill in the Fraser River.

The city, in conjunction with local New Democrat Party MPs Peter Julian and Fin Donnelly and MLA Judy Darcy, is also holding a town hall meeting at Douglas College on Thursday (7-10 p.m.).

Representatives from Metro Vancouver, Fraser Health, PMV, FSD and the environmental community have been invited to attend.