Crosty launches petition opposing coal terminal

James Crosty is inviting Royal City residents to sign his No Coal petition and say no to a proposed coal terminal in Surrey.

Crosty is inviting the public to drop by his business at 239 Sixth St. from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays until April 19 to sign petitions opposing the coal project being proposed at Fraser Surrey Docks, which is located across the Fraser River from Westminster Quay.

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Port Metro Vancouver has received an application to allow the Fraser Surrey Docks to accommodate a facility where coal is loaded from trains onto barges using a conveyor system. Some environmentalists and health officials have raised concerns about the potential negative impacts of the proposed facility, including local engine emissions from trains and tugboats, global greenhouse gas emissions from burning the shipped coal, dust from train movements and coal transfer operations, chemicals used in train cars and barges for dust suppression, soil and water contamination and risks related to explosions, fires, collision and spills.

Representatives from Metro Vancouver appeared before city council in February to assure the city that the application is undergoing a thorough review, and stated the port's review process will address citizens' concerns about coal.

Crosty is giving people a chance to sign the No Coal petition at his office and pick up blank petitions to gather more signatures and return to his office by April 19. All petitions will be copied and forwarded to Port Metro Vancouver, with the goal of convincing the port that it's in the best interest of the entire region and its citizens to deny the application.

"As a citizen advocate, I feel I must do something to address this serious issue facing New Westminster," he said in a press release. "One only needs to look at images of the Delta terminal during a 'freak wind gust' to see that no suppression system could ever contain the dust cloud that resulted from the stockpile of coal. We live on the mighty Fraser River - we have wind gusts, plenty of them."

Crosty said he is disappointed that local political leaders haven't opposed the proposed expansion at Fraser Surrey Docks, other than to seek more consultation about the proposal.

Jim Crandles, the port's director of real estate, told city council in February that the issues of dust are a central part of any review undertaken by Port Metro Vancouver.

"The key to it is ensuring that there are appropriate mitigations on the terminal itself dealing with the handling," he told council. "It's usually the handling of a product that creates the most opportunity for fugitive dust."

Crosty is no stranger to petitions, having launched a campaign last summer to oppose the city's plan to borrow up to $59 million to build an office tower above its future civic centre on Columbia Street.

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