Hundreds of people attended what was billed as a Fresh Air Autumn Shindig in Boitanio Park Sunday afternoon.
Organized by a group of concerned citizens, the event was an opportunity to share information regarding Atlantic Power’s permit approval to burn up to 50 per cent rail ties at its power plant in Williams Lake, while providing the enjoyment of musical entertainment, food and face painting for kids.
“Do any of you believe you were adequately consulted about the burning of rail ties?” emcee and concerned citizen Mary Forbes asked the crowd to a show of zero hands.
Following a 30-day deadline after the approval to burn ties, Forbes said the group will be submitting an appeal to the Environmental Appeal Board by the cutoff date, Oct. 6.
The group raised nearly $7,000 in less than 10 days and, with the help of West Coast Environmental Law, has prepared an appeal to the permit amendment allowing rail tie burning based on what Forbes said are three critical points.
The first, she said, is a concern surrounding increased sulphur dioxide levels in the air.
Second, the group believes the permit approval does not adequately address exactly how the rail ties will be transported to Williams Lake.
And lastly, she said there is uncertainty surrounding where the ties will be stored.
“We need community mobilization,” Forbes said.
“It’s really important we speak to one another.”
Following the contentious decision to amend the permit, Atlantic Power’s environmental, health and safety director Terry Shannon said the company hoped the decision wouldn’t be appealed, however, they respected the public’s right to do so.