Surrey Fraser Docks told Delta council this week it is aiming to make the proposed coal facility a zero dust emission operation.
"We're looking for a dust emission-free facility," said Jeff Scott, president and chief executive officer of Fraser Surrey Docks.
Scott appeared before Delta council Monday to give a presentation on the company's controversial application to handle American thermal coal for export to Asia.
The port, on the south side of the Fraser River near North Delta, Surrey and New Westminster, wants to transfer coal brought in by rail from Wyoming.
That coal would be loaded directly onto barges and towed by tug to Texada Island, where it would be transferred into storage to wait for ocean-going freighters.
Scott said the company is already permitted to handle coal under its existing lease and the application to Port Metro Vancouver is to build a new coal-handling facility.
He said the company has seen a significant decrease in business over the last five years and while it's improved somewhat recently, it's nowhere near where it was prior to 2009.
The project would allow Fraser Surrey Docks, which has been in operation for 50 years, to grow back some of the lost business and jobs.
If the proposal goes ahead, Scott said the company expects to deal with two million metric tonnes of coal in the first year.
He said that would mean the equivalent of just less than one additional train a day. The facility currently sees one train a day but has historically seen four trains daily.
Scott said the company has hired consultants to look at many potential areas of concern, including marine impacts, noise and dust.
"We've been in operation for a long time," he said.
"We have an impeccable safety record."
Councillors Scott Hamilton and Jeannie Kanakos voiced concerns about what they feel is inadequate consultation with North Delta residents, especially those living along the rail line.
Scott said the company is not planning any more public meetings but is prepared to meet with community groups or individual residents one-on-one to discuss the project and any concerns. Council passed a motion to invite Fraser Surrey Docks to hold a public information meeting in North Delta.
George Harvie, Delta's chief administrative officer, said civic staff members are meeting with Fraser Surrey Docks later in the week and will report back to council on March 4.
At a recent council meeting, Port Metro Vancouver said the application is still in the review phase. James Crandles said that process is aimed at ensuring an application meets standards and minimizes impacts, including environmental, under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
The proposal has raised concerns throughout the region. The chief medical health officers for both Lower Mainland health authorities recently wrote to Port Metro Vancouver with health concerns.