Coal export terminal project permit cancelled for Fraser Surrey Docks

Opponents to the project had raised concerns about the effects on climate change and of coal dust in the air. .
Opponents to the project had raised concerns about the effects on climate change and of coal dust in the air. . AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

The Port of Vancouver has cancelled a project permit for a controversial coal export terminal at the Fraser Surrey Docks.

The project was initially approved in 2014, for a facility that would handle more than four million tonnes of coal annually, most of it transported by rail from the U.S.

READ MORE: Port Metro Vancouver approves coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks

The project was opposed by Metro Vancouver, Surrey, Vancouver and environmental groups, who raised climate and health concerns.

In an email, Port of Vancouver spokesperson Danielle Jang said the permit was cancelled because the project’s operators had failed to meet conditions associated with it.

“If a proposed project is approved, a project permit is issued with conditions and those permit conditions must be adhered to,” said Jang.

“On November 30, 2015, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority issued a project permit to Fraser Surrey Docks, subject to 83 conditions. This permit was cancelled earlier this week because substantial progress on construction of the authorized works was not demonstrated by November 30, 2018, which was a condition of the project permit.”

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The permit cancellation is being celebrated by project opponents.

Environmental group Ecojustice called it “a win for the climate,” and a death knell for the coal export project.

“This is the latest blow to a controversial project that has faced opposition every step of the way,” said the group.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver’s environment and parks committee passes motion to oppose new coal terminal at Fraser Surrey docks

“The sustained and courageous opposition from local community members and groups — including the two local residents and Communities and Coal, which Ecojustice represented in their legal challenge to the project — played a critical role in forcing the port to axe the permit for this project.”

The $15-million project was expected to create 25 direct and 25 indirect full-time jobs.