Port Metro Vancouver Discusses Fraser Surrey Docks Expansion

The Fraser Surrey Dock, in 2011.

Port Metro Vancouver addresses concern over proposed port expansion project

This morning Port Metro Vancouver held a press conference to discuss the current review process for the hotly contested expansion of the Fraser Surrey Docks, which would see additional coal shipped out of Surrey. Duncan Wilson, the vice-president of corporate social responsibility at Port Metro Vancouver (PMV) led the presentation, with the hopes of clearing up what the organization sees as misunderstandings and mischaracterizations of the project before the next two public forums take place, both of which are scheduled for May.

Among Wilson’s chief concerns was assuring the public that the current proposal is for an additional four million tonnes of coal to be shipped out of the location per year. While there is the potential that the dock could handle as much as eight million additional tonnes, this increase would have to go through another application, review and approval process before it would ever be a reality. The proposed four million tonnes of coal would represent a seven per cent increase to PMV’s current coal handling capacity of 51.5 million tonnes.

Health issues were also at the forefront of the press conference, with PMV’s director of planning and development, Jim Crandles, confirming that the organization had met with the Health Authority three weeks ago to discuss “big picture” issues regarding Fraser Surrey Docks and Port Metro Vancouver projects in general.

PMV was criticized for not including the Health Authority earlier in the process, and despite this recent discussion, Crandles said that he doesn’t see the Health Authority giving any specific input towards the Fraser Surrey Docks expansion project.

Wilson was quick to point to the official mandate and authority of the Port, saying: “it is beyond our scope to determine what commodities move through the port… We are not advocating for a particular project, we are reviewing an application.”

Two open houses will be held in May where Fraser Surrey Docks hopes to clarify the logistics of the project along with its potential impacts, while also outlining how those impacts will be mitigated.