Coldstream council is concerned about some of the dust control technology used at the Tolko mill.

Coldstream council is concerned about some of the dust control technology used at the Tolko mill.

Council debates mill activity

Dust control technology at a Lavington plant has sparked debate over potential explosion risk.

Dust control technology at a Lavington plant has sparked debate over potential explosion risk.

Some Coldstream politicians are worried the recently installed cyclone bag houses at the Tolko planer mill could put residents at risk.

Considering the close proximity to Lavington Elementary school, the fire hall, railway and residences, council has made a recommendation stating that it is  important to ensure the proper maintenance and operation of the cyclone bag-houses. It has stated this and other concerns in a letter to the Ministry of Environment in response to Tolko’s application to amend its emissions permit.

“We’re simply flagging this as a concern,” said Coun. Richard Enns. “Nothing may come of it. It’s the Ministry of Environment that ultimately works with the applicant to determine what systems are acceptable. Maybe there is better equipment out there that is safer.”

But other politicians believe Coldstream is overstepping its boundaries.

“If these things are so unsafe why are they allowed in the sawmill industry anyway?” said Coun. Peter McClean. “Why, if it’s such a concern, is WorkSafe BC not dealing with it?”

Coun. Glen Taylor agrees.

“We have no background information on any particulars. I don’t think it’s our place to be making that statement either. That’s a bold statement.”

Enns defends his concerns, which he says comes from his own research and speaking with individuals in the industry.

“As a community if we see a hazard then we should be flagging it,” said Enns.

Tolko could not be reached for comment.