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River advocate joins recycling plant fight

Sto:lo Tribal Council rep Clarence Pennier addresses the press conference near the Fraser River off Old Orchard Road on Tuesday morning, raising concerns about the proposed riverside location of the Aevitas waste recycling plant. - JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS
Sto:lo Tribal Council rep Clarence Pennier addresses the press conference near the Fraser River off Old Orchard Road on Tuesday morning, raising concerns about the proposed riverside location of the Aevitas waste recycling plant.
— image credit: JENNA HAUCK/ PROGRESS

Community activists hoping to overturn rezoning approval for a waste recycling facility near the Fraser River have found some high-powered help.

Mark Angelo, a longtime watershed advocate and founder of BC Rivers Day, will be keynote speaker at an information event this Saturday at Evergreen Hall.

The former BCIT instructor and chair of the Outdoor Recreation Council of BC, will be among several speakers at the event, which gets under way at 2 p.m.

Organizers hope to draw attention to the decision by Chilliwack city council to rezone a property on Cannor Road that will allow a waste recycling facility and transfer station they say puts the nearby Fraser River at risk.

The facility will recycle of up to 500,000 mercury and non-mercury lamps, and 5,000 litres of electrical transformer oil with a PCB level of between 50 and 500 parts per million.

Hazardous materials eligible for transfer will  include flammable and corrosive liquids, as well as “toxic and infectious substances.”

The rezoning allows a 500-drum maximum, plus three trailers in the loading dock.

Critics say that while the recycling efforts are admirable, the location poses an imminent threat to one of the most productive salmon-bearing rivers in the world.

City staff, meanwhile, say adequate safeguards will be in place to prevent an incident.

Angelo, who helps draft annual list of “Most Endangered Rivers in B.C.,” has long advocated the protection of the region between Hope and Mission, called “The Heart of the Fraser.”

He’ll be joined Sto:Lo Grand Chief Clarence Pennier, Glen Thompson from Friends of the Chilliwack River Valley and Rod Clapton of BC Drift Fishers.

Evergreen Hall is located at 9291 Corbould St., Chilliwack.

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