City air quality an issue

Doug Wilson, in his letter to the editor, raises concerns about the air quality in Williams Lake.



I hear so many in our communities and country speaking out against whatever their favourite anti development issue currently is, proposed pipelines or whatever.

Here in Williams Lake, mine development is one of the most publicized, local, anti-development issues. Most of the arguments raised against these projects are environmental. The proposed project supposedly will destroy water, air or even a lifestyle.

Where, I wonder, are the voices protesting or raising concerns about Williams Lake’s atmospheric environment?

It was not that many years ago here in Williams Lake the big hue and cry was against sawmill beehive burners and their spewing of ash, dust and smoke into the air. The solution to that issue was found in the development of Williams Lake’s own electrical cogeneration plant.

These former waste products are now turned into electrical energy that benefits thousands.

While I am for economic development and job creation, I believe that all projects from mine development and pipelines, to be allowed to proceed, must meet stringent national and provincial environmental regulations. Meeting these regulations is the cost of doing business, similar to jobsite employee safety. No development in today’s world should get cost-saving rewards at the expense of a safe environment or worker safety.

So my question is, where are the environmentalists, and why are they not speaking up about the pellet plant spewing both dust and smoke into the Williams Lake environment? The Williams Lake cogeneration plant and West Fraser Plywood Plant have both been required to reduce environmental pollution by the required installation of electrostatic precipitators. The installation of electrostatic precipitator devices reduces and cleans the atmospheric discharges from these plants.

Certainly there is some cost involved to have these devices installed, and Williams Lake needs the employment provided by the pellet plant. However, the question again is, why are we giving the pellet plant a free ride on this dust and smoke issue?

How much dust is spewing out of this plant? Ask a Canadian Tire employee to show you the inside of its daily parked vehicle. As with the old beehive burners, remember when, even with windows rolled up tight all day, interior dust would accumulate.

In case some have missed it, the David Black-proposed Kitimat oil refinery has a Williams Lake connection. Mr. Black is the owner of the Tribune.

Doug Wilson

Williams Lake