I attended the Atlantic Power open house in the summer and after seeing their presentation I am no more in favour of this proposal than before I went.
Atlantic Power took pride that they cured Williams Lake of its air quality problem.
They had before and after pictures of the valley to prove their assertion that the facility cleared the air.
Their photos showed a remarkable improvement to the air quality, but it is my belief that the improvement in air quality was due to the elimination of the Bee Hive Burners.
“In 2005 Williams Lake recorded the first and the sixth highest level of fine particulate air pollution out of 38 communities in B.C. where continuous monitoring is conducted.” (Williams Lake Air quality round table).
The location of this facility in the valley air shed and its close proximity to the city is cause for concern not only with the burning of the ties but the storage and chipping of the ties.
The possible storage of up to 300,000 toxic railway ties is extremely scary and would be an intolerable risk to the citizens not only because of threat of fire in the storage, but toxic leaching to the ground water and the fine particulates that would be produced with the chips.
The smell that the ties would off vent is another great concern. Having moved here from Prince George I am well aware of the negative affect that poor air quality has on the health of the community … both physically and economically. The standard excuse to visitor’s comments on the stench was it was it was the smell of money.
It became clear at the open house that another selling point for this proposal is that Atlantic Power would be doing a great service to the country by disposing of these rail ties.
I have to ask why is Williams Lake being asked to be put at risk … Atlantic Power is in the power generating business not the toxic waste disposal business.
If they cannot generate power in a clean, environmentally friendly way then maybe we should look at alternatives like solar or other more green technology.
To allow Atlantic Power to go through with this plan will only harm Williams Lake’s reputation and will make it harder to attract and retain retirees, professionals, and doctors who are wanting an healthy environment to live in.