The coal port litigation is well underway. The court challenge to the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority’s decision to approve the Fraser Surrey Docks direct transfer coal facility was launched last September.
Since that time, Communities and Coal, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, and the two individual applicants have encountered several procedural challenges but are prevailing so far. We recently won a motion to add several grounds of review to this case. Subsequent evidence has revealed that the Port lacked the authority to make the decisions in relation to the project, or in the case of the environmental assessment decision, failed to make any decision at all. Since the Port is a Crown corporation with a statutory mandate, it is critical that its decision-making powers be properly exercised. This is always the case, but particularly so for a project with such significance and impact in our region.
In May there will be a hearing on the question of whether the Port has to produce additional documents in relation to this proceeding.
Next, after those matters are resolved, both the City of Surrey and the City of New Westminster plan to intervene in this case. They too hope to see this approval overturned. We expect that these applications to intervene will be brought in June.
Support for this case is widespread and our lawyers at Ecojustice, Canada’s only national environmental law charity, have been putting in extra hours to work on this important case. We hope that there will be a hearing later this year, but we still don’t know yet when that will be scheduled. We will keep you posted.