LETTERS: Health of populace should be paramount

“Fibre before ties,” was suggested.

Editor:

On April 30 I attended a city council meeting, during which Angie Delainey gave an articulate, spirited and well reasoned presentation to council regarding the burning of rail ties in our community.

The public gallery was filled to capacity with standing room only. That her words were well appreciated by the public audience was evidenced by a sustained and rousing round of applause after her submission.

Her message included advising leaders to think about the health, well being and reputation of our community; to balance industry with environment; to think about our future generations.

“Fibre before ties,” was suggested.

Council submitted a letter to Atlantic Power (AP) dated Sept. 22, 2015 indicating passing of a resolution (#343/15), in support of AP application for increased rail tie burning.

The letter states that council is confident that the proposed measures to be taken by AP will address environmental, health and safety concerns. There is no mention in this letter, or resolution, of the proviso attributed to Acting Mayor Smith that council support of the permit variance was dependent on passing “… all environmental checks and balances,” as described in the Tribune, May 3 article on the subject.

READ MORE: Amendement would represent 320 per cent increase in emissions

As required by the Ministry of Environment (MoE), AP conducts its own emissions testing, and self-reports to the Ministry. (This Ministry, through its lawyer, compared those appealing the permit amendment to “Busy-Bodies,” in a submission to the Environmental Appeal Board, in an attempt to quash the appeal during the preliminary stages.)

Anyone at Ms.Delainey’s presentation would appreciate that those present do not want rail tie burning in our community.

Ever since councillors Nelson and Bonnell moved and seconded, and Council passed, the resolution to support AP amended permit to increase rail tie burning, I suggest this venture is contrary to the wishes of the populace, and detrimental to the community.

Council seems to be employing the “Pontius Pilate” approach to rationalizing what I consider to be their lackadaisical attention to the requisite due diligence on a matter of such vital importance to our city.

Council “washes their hands” of proper attention to a matter of great concern and risk to residents – having blind faith in a Ministry which considers concerned citizens to be “busy-bodies,” and leaves testing and reporting up to the permit holder.

The potential, irreparable, harm resulting from a seven fold increase in permitted rail tie burning demands much greater attention than that evidenced by council’s statements and inaction in the past.

This file has been bungled from the outset.

Regardless of the economic benefit of AP, the health of the populace is paramount.

John Pickford

Williams Lake

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