I read with great interest a recent article in The South Delta Leader about the Corporation of Delta’s independent coal dust monitoring at various locations in South Delta.
Of particular concern: “Acuren… found that the canister near the airport, 15 metres from the railway used by coal trains, had about 30 times more particulate matter than the Tsawwassen samples, with about 65 per cent coal, exceeding the BC Air Quality guideline.”
If a site 15 metres from the railway has unacceptable levels of coal dust, just imagine the pollution at a mere three to four metres away. That’s the distance between a significant stretch of Lower Cougar Creek and the proposed coal train route to Fraser Surrey Docks.
If the Fraser Surrey Docks Coal Terminal is built, it’s not only our best salmon stream that will be in the target zone for unacceptable levels of coal dust (and diesel particulate) from trains through North Delta, it’s also our most popular recreational trails – the Delta Nature Reserve, lower Watershed Park, Watershed Creek and Blake Creek. These are all within 15 metres of the BNSF railway track through North Delta.
I’m of course pleased that Delta council has recently approved additional dustfall monitoring near the BNSF track in North Delta. However, how can coal dustfall be measured without running coal trains along this route? Will these measurements be done “after the fact,” too late to guide decision-making?
Given the results of coal dust monitoring in South Delta, I urge Delta’s mayor and council to take a stand now against the proposed Fraser Surrey Docks coal terminal. We should not be risking North Delta’s human and environmental health for the sake of U.S. thermal coal producers and a handful of port jobs.
Rain Gardens Coordinator
Cougar Creek Streamkeepers