Letter: Worst possible time for 30-day comment period on rail ties

Atlantic Power’s draft amended permit is now in the 30-day comment period.

Editor:

Atlantic Power’s draft amended permit is now in the 30-day comment period and it would appear that Williams Lake will be accepting rail ties from all over Western Canada to be disposed of in our city very shortly.

From the start this has been a David and Goliath battle.

Atlantic Power has the money and the experts to go the distance.

From the very start they had the upper hand.

They quietly went about lobbying local government and the chamber. They entered into a community agreement with the First Nations Band and money changed hands or will.

The first the public knew about the plan was last June, the worst time as so many are in the midst of kid’s sports, end of school, and about to embark on summer holidays.

A group of concerned citizens rallied and organized information sessions but with little money and experts hard to come by in the tight time frame and, not to mention, having to organize while continuing to be employed and juggle parenthood and other commitments had difficulty getting the momentum needed to halt this plan.

From the very start Atlantic Power controlled the agenda, they had access to the power’s that be.

Their two lobbyists, Cam McAlpine and Kevin Brown, met with Donna Barnett in March to discuss this proposal while our MLA wouldn’t discuss it with us as she stated she is not political.

They accused concerned citizens of fear mongering while, from the start, their strategy was financial fear mongering.

I am frustrated and disheartened that while there are rules in place it seems like those with the money and the power can trample on and use every tactic for their advantage.

Why is it that it seems that for corporations their financial well being is considered at the top of the list for these kind of permits but for us who also have a considerable financial investment in our city, our investment doesn’t count?

Why is our home, our health and our community worth less than corporate profits?

Once again we are being asked to comment at the worst possible time as people settle into summer and those who are actively protesting are being squeezed into having to mount an appeal.

For all those who do feel that burning rail ties will be a negative endeavour for our city please write to the Ministry of the Environment at authorizations.north@gov.bc.ca.

For more information visit www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/air-land-water/site-permitting-compliance/atlantic-power.

Kim Herdman

Williams Lake

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