Appearing as a delegation at Tuesday evening’s city council meeting, lakecity resident Angie Delainey received a big round of applause from fellow Rail Ties Be Wise supporters following her presentation urging councillors to do what they could to oppose the burning of rail ties at Altantic Power Corporation’s biomass facility in the city limits.
Delainey, who spoke as a private citizen but is currently both a CRD director and SD 27 trustee, delivered her speech on behalf of Rail Ties Be Wise which initiated the investigation into the power plant’s initial application to burn up to 50 per cent rail ties per year with no daily limit.
She was also speaking since the Panel of the Environmental Appeal Board ruled last month the Ministry of Environment should grant Atlantic Power’s permit amendment to burn rail tie material.
“We believe the location of the plant, poor dispersion, and the impacts of the wildfires to be too great a risk. We the community, are asking you, our elected leaders to error on the side of caution. Apply the precautionary principal to ensure that BC Hydro doesn’t violate the intent behind the Clean Energy Act and to say no to ties once and for all.”
Following Delainey’s presentation, council formally recieved her letter and thanked her and the group for the information.
When questioned by media at the end of the meeting, council explained the approval of the permit, which as already happened, is out of their control.
In 2016, mayor and council did send a letter of support for Atlantic Power’s variance to burn rail ties.
Since then, there has been mounting public pressure to rescind that support.
When asked if they regretted the decision, Acting Mayor Craig Smith said their letter stated they supported the permit variance as long as it passed all the environmental checks and balances.
“It had to be environmental sound,” Smith stressed.
Coun. Scott Nelson further explained that council advocated “very, very strongly” in recent years to ensure cheap alternative fire supply be opened up for projects “that will allow them to have 10, 20 year contracts,” Nelson said.
“You can’t run a $200 million company on a one or a three year contract.”
Nelson added that just because the company has the permit to burn rail ties doesn’t mean they will.
“That’s the very last resort,” Nelson said, noting they are hoping for a contract from government that will keep Atlantic Power open.
“If the province was so concerned or indebted to this community it will step up and provide that contract for a 10 or 20 year period with an existing fibre supply. We as a community support that.”