Christine Dujmovich, Kevin Washbrook and Paula Williams outside Federal Court Wednesday. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Civic intervenor status at Fraser Surrey Docks hearing ‘is a win’: thermal-coal critics

Community groups make Federal Court case against coal shipments

Community groups opposing a Fraser Surrey Docks permit that would increase the amount of thermal coal being transported through White Rock and South Surrey began presenting their case in Federal Court Wednesday.

The proposal to build a new coal-export terminal on the Fraser River in Surrey received a permit from Port Metro Vancouver two years ago.

Represented by lawyers from Ecojustice, Communities and Coal Society, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, Christine Dujmovich and Paula Williams allege the approval “was tainted by a reasonable apprehension of bias.”

“We’re trying to show that the port was biased in their decision and that the CEO (Robin Sylvester) was biased (in approving the permit),” Williams, a South Surrey resident and co-founder of Communities and Coal, told Peace Arch News during a break.

“Our health and safety concerns were not properly addressed by the port.”

Ecojustice lawyer Harry Wruck presented the court with an overview of the issues, as well as affidavits from Williams, Dujmovich and VTACC’s Kevin Washbrook.

In addition to health concerns, “safety is a big issue for all of them, too,” Wruck said.

The terminal would bring up to four million tonnes per year of U.S. thermal coal by rail through White Rock, South Surrey and Delta, adding one extra coal train per day.

It’s estimated it would result in nearly seven million tonnes of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere every year.

Wruck submitted that the port did not have the ability to delegate the permit’s approval to the CEO, and that in signing it he “misunderstood his duties and responsibilities.”

Williams said earlier this month that the court action is not just about the coal project, but port governance as a whole; she described it as “fundamentally flawed.”

Wednesday, Williams said that regardless of the hearing’s outcome, “I feel like we have won.”

“Our group stuck with it. Surrey and New West (cities) are here (as intervenors). That alone is a win. It sort of legitimizes in my mind our right to be here.”

Port Metro Vancouver has maintained throughout the process that expanding the coal port is in the public interest and that there has been ample consultation and opportunity for members of the public to make their views known.

About 70 people turned out for the hearing, which is scheduled for three days.

More to come…

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey monitoring traffic as vehicles again clog city streets

Compared with city’s 2019 weekly average, deepest volume reduction was in late March with up to 46 per cent less vehicles

Art’s Scarecrow Festival returns in September

Sixth annual event will be different than previous events because of the pandemic

SPCA partners with Crime Stoppers

Many call in to the SPCA, but want to remain anonymous: Eccles

‘Best of Cloverdale’ contest returns

Voters can cast ballots once a day until Sept. 5; enter to win $250 gift card for Save-On-Foods

Surrey’s top cop is keynote speaker at Surrey Board of Trade AGM

Asssistant Commissioner Brian Edwards will be on deck at Tuesday’s ‘virtual’ meeting

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

High-volume littering at Cape Scott draws ire from hiking groups

Popular Vancouver Island hiking spot not closing, but frustration about crowding grows

SFU to drop ‘Clan’ varsity team name

The ‘Clan’ name is shortened from ‘Clansmen,’ and was introduced roughly 55 years ago

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

We were a bit tone deaf: Hobo Cannabis renamed Dutch Love after backlash

Hobo Cannabis has various locations in Vancouver, Kelowna and Ottawa

Most Read