The council chambers were full Tuesday evening as many supporters of Rail Ties Be Wise turned out to support spokesperson Angie Delainey, who presented a letter to mayor and council asking them to reconsider supporting the burning of rail ties by Atlantic Power. Angie Mindus photos

VIDEO: Rail Ties Be Wise group appeals to city council one more time to stop rail tie burning in lakecity

Angie Delainey spoke on behalf of the group

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 represent those who have breathing difficulties already in our community. We represent the children and the seniors who cannot advocate for themselves. We represent Mother Nature and all of the creatures that live in her valley,” said Delainey.

“We represent 1,540 signatures from our city and surrounding areas. We represent anyone who opposes the burning of ties in our valley.”

Read More:Local leaders continue to apply pressure to keep Atlantic Power open

She noted the city receives approximately $1.3 million dollars in tax money from Atlantic Power and employs about 38 people, and that the group understands everything council must consider. Delainey also pointed out, however, that they want local leaders to balance industry with environment.

“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.

Read More: Environmental Appeal Board rules in favour of Atlantic Power burning rail ties

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.”

Coun. Ivan Bonnell said city council is not the authority that makes decisions on permit variances but that they will “review and consider the information” presented to council by the Rail Ties Be Wise group.

He also added that he is supportive of industry in Williams Lake.

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Angie Delainey presented to council Tuesday evening as a private citizen, however, she is a CRD director as well as a trustee for School District 27.

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