11/26/2013 07:49 EST | Updated 01/26/2014 05:59 EST

Jet fuel protesters hold emergency meeting in Richmond

Opponents of a controversial proposal to build a jet fuel facility on the South Bend of the Fraser River held an emergency meeting in Richmond, B.C., Tuesday.

​The project would bring more jet fuel to Vancouver International Airport and if approved, see a jet fuel terminal, tank farm and pipeline built on the river and through Richmond.

Part of the proposal by Vancouver Airport Fuel Facilities Corporation would also involve using jet fuel tankers coming into waters in South Richmond.

Richmond residents, local MLAs and Mayor Malcolm Brodie gathered at Gary Point Park to voice their concerns about the impact tanker traffic on the fish, birds and other wildlife living in the Fraser Estuary.

Brodie spoke at the rally and went as far as to say he doesn't know anyone who actually supports the plan.

"These are tankers that are 950 feet in length — that's like three football fields long," said Brodie.

"They're going to be loaded with jet fuel. They're going to be regularly coming up the river, introducing an unnecessary risk to the people and to the city of Richmond."

Barges and tankers would carry jet fuel 15 kilometres up the river to the terminal, then link up with an on-land pipeline to YVR.

Planes at YVR currently get their fuel from a pipeline that runs from Burnaby's Chevron Refinery to the airport.

But Tony Gugliotta, with the Vancouver Airport Authority, says the pipeline is not supplying enough and the airport has to bring in 1,000 truckloads of extra fuel per month.

"The only issue with the current system is that it is at capacity, and as the airport grows in the future, we need to make sure we have a system that has the capacity to meet the airport's needs."

Opposition to the Richmond proposal continues in the wake of a spill that dumped 35,000 litres of jet fuel into Lemon Creek in B.C.'s Slocan Valley.

A tanker truck fell into the creek, spilling the fuel into the tributary of the Slocan and Kootenay Rivers, affecting ducks, heron and deer, among other wildlife, and devastating local farmers.

B.C.'s Ministry of Environment will make the final decision on the Richmond project on Dec. 24.