The decision by the Ministry of the Environment to approve the application by Atlantic Power Corp. of Boston, Mass.to burn up to 50 per cent creosoted rail ties in the cogen plant is an unfortunate one for the residents of the Williams Lake valley.
Williams Lake already has poor air quality due to the road dust and the geographical setting of the valley, and the occurrence of air inversions that trap the air in the valley bowl.
Industry and businesses that create air pollution were allowed to set up in the low elevation of the valley.
With the addition of four more mills in the 60s the situation with the road dust got worse. Some progress was made. The elimination of the fly ash and more frequent cleaning of the Industrial corridors.
There are a lot of good things going on in the community, but the quality of life here has deteriorated due to social problems with crime, gang wars over the hard drug trade, assaults, robberies and murders.
This is not nearly as good a community as it was sixty years ago.
Mayor Cobb has refused to sign on to protect the environment of this community.
It is a resource-based community, he says, an Industrial town.
Really, it is all about the money, and governments, especially the Provincial government, made huge tax revenues from the highly-paid workers at the mines and the mills, around $40,000 from every $100,000 of earnings.
The quality of life in these communities is of secondary importance to the revenue. People are no longer a priority.
Government could create work in our community, doing fire guards around the residential areas and trailer parks.
There could be work done in our environs, reclaiming grey areas.
Pay workers a decent wage, say $15 per hour, and the social problems would diminish and the local businesses would benefit.
There are solutions to the problems that exist, other than burning poisonous tie with carcinogens in them the shredding of the ties, their storage, and the deadly ash that must be contained.
This is a definite step backwards for our community.
The Ministry of the Environment has lost all credibility. They had a three million dollar contract with Mount Polley to haul the contaminated earth from the False Creek industrial area on their return trips from unloading their ore concentrate at the coast.
That ended up in their tailings facility which breached and polluted the purest, deepest fjord lake in North America.
No penalties were ever assessed against Imperial Metals.
I am a member of the “concerned citizens” who stand opposed to the burning of the toxic ties, and we are deeply concerned about the effects on our elders and children, and those who already have breathing problems.
So wake up and smell the coffee. There is more to life than just money.
There are several totally viable alternatives to burning poisonous rail ties in a residential community. The obsequious usurpers who make these decisions are complicit in the deterioration of the quality of life in Williams Lake.