Monica Lamb-Yorski photo About 25 people attended an air quality workshop held at Scout Island Nature Centre led by Ministry of Environment air quality meteorologist Ralph Adams.

Airshed planning a must for communities

What goes on in a city’s planning department can be very important, said Ralph Adams during a workshop held at Scout Island Nature Centre

An air quality meteorologist with the Ministry of Environment said local governments have to be actively engaged in airshed planning.

“What goes on in the planning department can be very important,” said Ralph Adams during a workshop held at Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake recently. “A planning department decides on construction permits and things like dust control. They are the ones that can look at transportation and infrastructure and they are the ones that can deal with zoning.”

In Williams Lake there is currently one air quality monitoring station at the Lake City Secondary School Columneetza campus that was refurbished in October 2017.

Read more: Williams Lake gets new air quality monitoring station

“It measures ozone, hydrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, PM10 and PM2.5 and we have moved the weather instruments from Canadian Tire to Columneetza so we now have wind speed, wind direction, and temperature being measured there,” Adams said. “We have also moved the precipitation gauge there.”

When asked why the monitoring station is placed at Columneetza Adams said the ministry tries to install them in places where there are lots of homes and people so as to get an idea what people are breathing in.

Daily and hourly readings from the monitoring station are available online by going to the air quality data government of B.C. website.

Adams said it is unlikely the city will get another monitoring station as they are very expensive, however, there is new portable equipment that is less expensive that can be moved around a community to investigate hot spots or a specific source.

“In Quesnel, they have the main station at Quesnel Senior Secondary, and next week will be installing an instrument with e-band that is free standing and plugs into a regular extension cord and can be moved around from year to year.”

A movable instrument would be good for Williams Lake, Adams said.

“But in order to do that you have to develop partnerships with local government and industry in order to pay for them.”

He said in Ontario, air quality monitoring stations are only installed in cities with more than 100,000 people.

Former city councillor and mayoral candidate Surinderpal Rathor said when he was in office he received more complaints about Pinnacle Pellet than any other industrial business and asked Adams about its emissions.

Adams responded that people should be concerned because of the visible effects on tourism and also the odors, but said he did not think there is much evidence that the current level of emissions are having a significant effect.

“Based on what I’ve seen around other pellet plants, we could not find any link between air quality down wind,” Adams said. “I’d say the main concerns are visibility and odor.”

Read more: Particulate matter levels in Williams Lake high enough to concern all

Jenny Noble attended the workshop and said Adams answered a lot of questions she had about pollutants that threaten air quality and impact health.

“He stressed the invisibly small particles and liquid droplets comprising PM2.5 that result from all combustion,” Noble said.

“They impact our lungs forever, and can cross into the bloodstream causing cardiovascular problems.”

Noble said Adams referred to research showing that long-term exposure, even in low quantities, is more damaging than even short-term high-level exposures like forest fire smoke.

“Further research aims to determine whether that’s true when forest fires occur year after year,” she added.

She said she was disappointed he did not talk about the issue of rail tie burning proposed at Atlantic Power.

However, during his presentation, Adams said he could not address the issue until the appeal process through the Environmental Appeal Board is completed.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Falcons looking to rejuvenate hoops program; provincial berth targetted

Lake City Falcons senior boys basketball coach Harrison Stupich couldn’t ask for a better group

Greenland and Nunavit to be featured at Travel and Dessert Night

One Arctic — Two histories at St. Andrew’s United Church Feb. 20

EDITORIAL: Hold your family close

What are your plans for Family Day?

Robbery of local pizzeria foiled

The Williams Lake RCMP are seeking a charge of robbery following the incident

T-wolves claim home-ice advantage for playoffs

Saturday, Williams Lake breezed to an 8-0 trouncing of the Thunder.

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

Cabinet likely to extend deadline to reconsider Trans Mountain pipeline

The can’t decide the pipeline’s fate until a new round of consultations with Indigenous communities

B.C. government provides $75,000 towards salmon study

Study looks at abundance and health of Pacific salmon in Gulf of Alaska

Murdered and missing honoured at Stolen Sisters Memorial March in B.C.

‘We come together to make change within the systems in our society’

UBC researchers develop inexpensive tool to test drinking water

The tricoder can test for biological contamination in real-time

Disgraced ex-Congressman Anthony Weiner released from prison

He was convicted of having illicit online contact with a 15-year-old North Carolina girl in 2017

B.C. communities push back against climate change damages campaign

Activists copying California case that was tossed out of court

Most Read