Riverside site in Chilliwack rezoned for waste recycling plant

Rezoning opponents at city hall had questions about the mercury lamps to be crushed and the treatment of pcb-laden transformer oil.

A handful of environmentally conscious citizens showed up at Chilliwack city hall Tuesday to oppose a rezoning proposal for a hazardous waste recycling facility in Cattermole Business Park.

They had questions about the mercury lamps that will be crushed and the treatment of transformer oil and electrical equipment with low level PCBs.

But in the end council unanimously approved second and third reading of the M6 rezoning for a riverside facility on Cannor Road to be built by Ontario-based firm Aevitas.

The special industrial rezoning went through despite several letters of opposition, and public commentary against the idea from many  who raised the spectre of impacts like major flooding or a haz-mat spill into the river.

Ernie Crey, fisheries advisor to Sto:lo Tribal Council, and councillor elect for Cheam First Nation, asked if city officials would hold off on making their decision until local First Nations could review the recycling proposal.

Other river stewards and environmentalists asked council to turn down the rezoning for the 1.78-hectare portion, arguing the riverside location was wrong.

Resident Bob Buhler was aghast, and said he was most concerned about the mercury.

“It’s so close to the river, it’s mind-boggling that you would consider something like this,” he said.

Answering questions at the podium in council chambers was Aevitas company spokesman Byron Day, who said they chose the Cannor Road site because of its somewhat remote location, away from town and busy intersections.

Asked by Mayor Sharon Gaetz about the company’s safety record, Day replied:

“In 20 years, we’ve never had an incident,” later adding, “We are the company that cleans up for everyone else.”

Day explained the way the company developed safe methods for crushing mercury-laden lamps under negative pressure to extract the mercury, and breaking down the components of PCB-laden transformer oil.

Aevitas is an industry specialist in the hazardous waste treatment field, with vast experience in safe handling of a range of waste that could otherwise be a danger to communities.

“I’ve been convinced they will be responsible stewards of our environment,” said Coun. Ken Huttema.

Part of the rationale for approval by Coun. Steward McLean included the acknowledgement that Aevitas has not had a safety incident or a complaint at any of their waste treatment facilities in more than 20 years.

“That speaks loudly about who we’re dealing with.”

Coun. Jason Lum asked for and received the additional condition that should the province issue notice of a flood or high water, that the facility be required to evacuate

Day said Aevitas chose Chilliwack for their 10th waste recycling facility, in part because the facility could be sited above the 1-in-200-year floodplain mark. They have systems which are specially designed to safely handle waste that could be otherwise be hazardous. The plan includes an odour control system, geo membranes, fire suppression foam, and tanks that come up to the level of the dike for flood prevention. All waste recycling activities will be conducted indoors.

A special covenant will go on the land title limiting the land use to this specific purpose and a good neighbour agreement will also be signed, including protocols for handling complaints.



Just Posted

UPDATE w/ VIDEO: Chilliwack homeless camp given eviction notice

Inside the camp that will be removed by Monday RCMP according to trespass notice

Missing Chilliwack teen found ‘safe and sound’

Boy found just as mother was organizing search

Chilliwack Rotary club reports $4,200 theft at storage shed

Rotary Train Shed adjacent to homeless camp on reserve land broken into Oct. 15

Rainfall warning issued across Lower Mainland into the weekend

50 to 70 mm of rain expected to fall starting overnight Friday and into Sunday morning

UPDATE: Chilliwack mother issues plea for info on missing son

Informal search party organized for 13-year-old boy not seen since Thursday

VIDEO: ‘Lyle the singing pig’ searching for home

SPCA say the pig is ‘not opera-ready’

Man in custody linked police search near Salmon Arm

Police have not connected arrest to search at Salmon River Road property

B.C. search groups mobilize for missing mushroom picker

Searchers from across the province look for Frances Brown who has been missing since Oct. 14.

Search for missing B.C. man a race against winter weather

David Jeff of Williams Lake was last seen in Kamloops during the chaotic wildfire evacuations

Man steals police car, goes for a ‘slow’ ride

Mission RCMP say the motive of the theft is unknown

Dodgers punch ticket to World Series

This will be the first time the Los Angles Dodgers have made it to the World Series since 1988.

Surf group winning the war on plastic bags

The Tofino Co-op will no longer provide plastic bags, following in the footsteps of the Ucluelet location that already made the change earlier this year.

All three victims identified in Fernie arena ammonia leak

Wayne Hornquist and Lloyd Smith were from Fernie and Jason Podloski from Turner Valley, Alta

VIDEO: Body discovered at scene of dumpster fire behind Langley City mall

Area behind furniture store taped off after firefighters find deceased woman while battling blaze

Most Read