Fraser Surrey Docks, the site of an application to build grain and potash terminals. (Photo: Now-Leader).

Huge grain, potash terminals proposed for Fraser Surrey Docks

Surrey’s mayor is embracing the projects, but Delta’s mayor has concerns about emergency crew access

Fraser Surrey Docks could soon be home to two huge grain and potash terminals.

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner is embracing the projects, but Delta’s mayor has concerns about access for emergency crews.

Hepner called it a “major opportunity” for Fraser Surrey Docks and expects it won’t create “anywhere near the anxiety that coal did from the Fraser Surrey Docks — I think it’s great.”

“I think everybody would be supportive of those products being exported out of Surrey to places around the world, I’m assuming it’s probably more particularly to Asia, but I also believe that they are products the community would stand behind, both grain and potash,” Hepner said. “So, I think it’s a great economic boon, I don’t have anything bad to say about it.

“We can as a community can raise concerns,” she noted, “but ultimately the products that go through the port are national in determinance and the federal government will ultimately decide if it’s in the national best interest for trade and I would say in my opinion this city would have no objection to that trade and I wouldn’t be asking for anything other than to better understand, they’re going to be building as I understand it a new building.”

Hepner said she assumes “control mechanisms for dust and whatever else would happen with that product, but I don’t have any issues.”

Fraser Grain Terminal Ltd. has submitted an application to the Port of Vancouver to build a grain terminal at 11041 Elevator Rd. that would handle four million tones of grain per year, at the site of a terminal that currently deals with a half-million tonnes per year. An estimated 309 trains would deliver the grain by rail through Surrey, along the CN rail mainline, and most of it would be loaded directly onto 62 ocean-going ships each year.

Moreover, roughly 600,000 tonnes of grain would be loaded into containers and put on ships or trucked to Deltaport and other terminals.

Delta Mayor Lois Jackson said it’s “very early” days yet in the project. “It’s a long process, as you can appreciate.”

“We were most concerned about the fact that we don’t have easy access from the South Fraser Perimeter Road onto the docks. Remember the big fire we had down there this summer? Our guys had to go all the way up to Tannery Road, turn all the way around and come all the way back down — a long time to wait.”

Jackson said a “proper overpass” is needed to connect the port with the docks.

Meantime, BHP Billiton is proposing to build an eight million tonne per year potash terminal at the docks, and is currently under environmental review by the Port of Vancouver. Potash is a mineral salt used to produce fertilizer and the proposed terminal would be on the site of the current container terminal at Surrey Fraser Docks.

If approved, 10 trains of potash would be delivered to the docks weekly from a Saskatchewan mine by way of covered trains along the CN rain mainline through Surrey.

These two projects are in addition to the already approved direct transfer coal facility at the docks which would see the exporting of four million tonnes of coal each year.

“This project is currently in the process of a judicial review and there has not been any work done towards building the facility due to current economic conditions related to the export of thermal coal,” Sean McGill, Delta’s director of corporate services, noted in a report to Delta’s council.

More to come…

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