LETTERS: Williams Lake’s environmental and health concerns should be top priority

I respectfully question the logic of our community’s health being risked

Editor:

Please allow me to share a few thoughts regarding the recent open letter submitted by Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett regarding Atlantic Power (AP) in which she states: “… Williams Lake’s environmental and health concerns are at risk,” in reference to her fear of Atlantic Power having to close its facility without a contract from BC Hydro.

I respectfully question the logic of our community’s health being risked by not having rail ties burned locally, in the event of the demise of AP.

In a November article in the Tribune, Mayor Walt Cobb is reported as believing rail tie burning may not be necessary since logging slash and debris can be utilized as fuel for AP.

READ MORE: Act now to save Atlantic Power from closing

Unfortunately his optimism is not shared by the two AP representatives quoted in the article: our local Ms. Nelson and a company executive in California.

The AP facility provides an economic gain to the city, but I suggest that the health of 11,000 residents who each breathe 20,000 times daily should be paramount.

A 2016 report from the World Bank group titled The Cost of Air Pollution states: “Air pollution is now the world’s fourth-leading fatal health risk causing one in 10 deaths in 2013.”

Contrary to Barnett’s opinion, I respectfully submit that our community’s environmental and health concerns are more at risk with a rail tie burning facility than without.

John Pickford

Williams Lake

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