The Province of British Columbia quietly approved the 20-fold expansion of a coal export facility on Texada Island. The implications on the Fraser Surrey docks are huge, as there’s a proposal to create a coal export terminal at these docks. Barges would be used to transport thermal coal originating from the United States to Texada Island via the Fraser River and the Strait of Georgia. The coal would then be unloaded, stored, and loaded onto larger vessels in a deep port facility operated by Lafarge Canada on Texada. There was no consultation with the public or with First Nations prior to the issuance of the permit on March 12, 2014, as noted by The ECO Report.
The permit to allow the expansion of the Texada Island coal facility was issued by the Ministry of Energy and Mines. Is this an indication that the province considers the Fraser Surrey dock coal export facility to be a “done deal”? Also disturbing is the proposal to dredge the Fraser River (to allow deeper vessels) as well as the planned replacement of the Massey tunnel with a bridge. Currently the Massey tunnel is just below the riverbed and it’s an impediment to a deeper channel from being cut in the Fraser. There may be a considerable ecological cost to dredging the Fraser River. Who will pay the price?
For further reference, here are a few articles that explore the current state of thermal coal exports from Metro Vancouver:
- BC Approves 20 fold Increase of Coal Exports Through Texada without Public Notice (The ECO Report, April 17, 2014)
- Plan for deeper dredging in Fraser River could have high environmental price (BIV, , April 22, 2014)
- Christy Clark announces Massey Tunnel to be replaced by bridge (The Vancouver Sun, Sept 21, 2013, by Jeff Lee, Derrick Penner & Brian Morton)
- CN report on Burnaby coal derailment “deficient”, lacks details on environmental impacts (Straight.com, by Travis Lupick, April 17, 2014)
- Coal Export expansion consultation motion at Council December 11-12 (MetroVanWatch, December 7, 2012)