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Surrey Docks, region fight over air quality

By Michael Mui, 24 Hours Vancouver

Fraser Surrey Docks. (FILE PHOTO/ 24 HOURS)

Fraser Surrey Docks. (FILE PHOTO/ 24 HOURS)

Fraser Surrey Docks — the company behind a proposed coal expansion — is arguing that Metro Vancouver has no authority over its air-contaminant releases because its on port land, according to a climate action group that obtained a copy of a ticketing dispute.

Fraser Surrey Docks which, like other ports of entry, is located on federal land was fined for an alleged offence late last year relating to the discharge of air contaminant.

According to a copy of the ticket, the fine was issued in March this year for $1,000, under a section of Metro Vancouver’s air quality management bylaw. But in an April letter, Fraser Surrey Docks CEO and president Jeff Scott said the company “disputes the ticket on the basis that Metro Vancouver does not have jurisdiction over operations within the port, and that FSD’s activities are not subject to the bylaw,” he wrote.

Metro Vancouver vice-chairman Raymond Louie said on Wednesday that FSD is ignoring regional law by not having an air quality permit.

“No matter what happens, Metro Vancouver is right in its decision to ticket and fine because were trying to preserve the air quality of our citizens,” he said. Louie said it’s believed soy dust was discharged illegally late last year.

“If it’s not Metro Vancouver that has jurisdiction, then I need to see clearly an answer from both the provincial and federal governments on who has that jurisdiction to regulate air contaminants from all the lands.”

Scott did not immediately return an interview request.

Kevin Washbrook with the Voters Taking Action on Climate Change group said FSD’s opposition is troubling because of its current proposal to expand coal operations. “That proposal has been met with air quality concerns. If they win, the fear for me would be that we have no local input into these development plans,” he said. “The port sees us as the gateway to the Asia Pacific, and it’s all about moving goods, it’s not about livability and the local environment.”

Port Metro Vancouver said on Wednesday it’s still reviewing information on FSD’s proposal and no decision has been made on approval.


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