Railway ties eyed for fuelling Atlantic Power Corporation

Atlantic Power Corporation is hoping to get permission to burn more railway ties at its biomass-fuelled electricity generation station.

Atlantic Power Corporation is hoping to get permission to burn more railway ties at its biomass-fuelled electricity generation station in Williams Lake.

Presently the company has a permit to burn five per cent in its mix of fibre at the Williams Lake Power Plant on Mackenzie Avenue North.

The company is asking to increase that amount by 10 to 20 per cent on an annual basis, citing a decline in fibre supply due to an annual allowable cut reduction and ongoing impacts of the Mountain Pine Beetle infestation as reasons to use rail ties.

“We will be holding an open house about the project on Wednesday, June 17 at the Cariboo Memorial Complex from 5 to 8 p.m.,” said Terry Shannon, Environmental Manager of Western Operations for Atlantic Power from his office in San Diego, California. “We will have company representatives and plant staff there with some poster boards explaining the main features of the plant as well as the proposed amendment to our permit.”

Despite having a permit to burn rail ties, the company has not burned any since 2010 because of public complaints.

At that time, the ties were being chipped and stored downtown behind the Station House Gallery at the foot of Oliver Street.

“People were concerned about the noise and odour of the chipping operation, and perceived fire risk with the storage,” Shannon said of the previous operation. “Most of the reaction was about the chipping operation not the actual discharge from the plant.”

To address that concern, the company is proposing to install a shredder for the ties at the power plant site.

Presently the plant employs 32 full-time employees. If permission is granted to process more rail ties it is expected three to four more people will be hired to run the shredder.

The cost of installing a shredder is between five and $10 million and it would take about two years before it was ready to use.

In its existing permit, the plant’s emissions are measured for total particulate matter, nitrogen oxides and opacity.

“We never exceeded any of those levels when we did burn rail ties,” Shannon said.

Additionally the company proposes the burning of rail ties will contribute additional environmental benefits by reducing the number of rail ties that accumulate along the rail tracks in Western Canada or find their way into landfills.

Atlantic Power is currently talking to a number of rail companies to determine how best to acquire rail ties, however, whether the company buys them or they are provided for free has not been determined.

During the last month, the company met with the Williams Lake Indian Band, Soda Creek Band, Mayor Walt Cobb, CRD Chair Al Richmond and MLA Donna Barnett to talk about the proposal and will be making a presentation to the CRD board on June 12, Shannon said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

International Women’s Day is March 8. (Internationalwomensday.com)
International Women’s Day 2021: #choosetochallenge

International Women’s Day is marked annually on March 8

Celebrate women in leadership, March 8, International Women’s Day 2021 (Unsplash)
EDITORIAL: International Women’s Day 2021 shines spotlight on achievements, ongoing inequities

COVID-19 increased gender-based violence, economic stress, the burden of care giving for women

Amarjit Khakh of Williams Lake. (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Amarjit Khakh

Kindness and giving, key to full life

Sierra William (left) with her grandmother Eileen William. (Roger William photo)
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Sierra William

Xeni Gwet’in woman finds strength in tradition

Cynthia English (Photo submitted)
INTERNATIONL WOMEN’S DAY 2021: Cynthia English

Cynthia English, 30, has been working in the logging industry for several years

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read