Approved: Fraser Surrey Docks is now in the coal business

Fraser Surrey Docks | BCBusiness

FSD cleared the final hurdle Thursday to constructing a coal transfer facility

The Fraser Surrey Docks (FSD) will have a coal transfer facility after all, thanks in part to the Port Metro Vancouver, which Thursday approved the project permit.

The Direct Coal Transfer Project, which will process U.S. thermal coal export shipments, includes a new, yet-to-be-built facility at the FSD as well as an expansion of an existing transfer facility on Texada Island.    
Approval of an extension for the Texada facility, owned by a subsidiary of French multinational Lafarge, was first confirmed by the province’s Ministry of Energy and Mines back in March. However, in June a judicial review petition was filed by a group called Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, alleging that the approval process was flawed since foreign coal is not within the scope of the Mines Act.
According to a Port Metro Vancouver press release, while neither provincial nor federal environmental assessments were required for the new FSD facility, the PMV decided to require an environmental impact assessment along with additional human health assessments due to “the public interest in the project.” 
Once construction is completed, coal will arrive by rail at FSD where it will be loaded onto barges then shipped to Texada Island for transfer to ocean-going carriers. According to PMV, the $15-million project will result in 25 direct and 25 indirect jobs.
In a press release, Simon Fraser University urban studies professor Peter Hall recognized there were pros and cons to the decision, but ultimately was not a fan. “It is important to recognize that the project has both costs and benefits that for the most part don’t line up with each other but overall I am disappointed by what this says about the trajectory of port development in our city/region,” he said.
Construction at FSD is scheduled to begin in the fall of 2015.