Air quality monitoring and improvement efforts continue in Lavington.

Air quality monitoring and improvement efforts continue in Lavington.

Lavington air quality resurfaces as a priority

A memorandum of understanding was reached in June and details are just now being revealed.

Coldstream would like to clear the air of any literal and figurative pollution.

Heightened awareness around the local air shed has been raised in the area since the construction of the Pinnacle pellet plant in Lavington. Three residents appealed the air discharge permit issued by the Ministry of Environment. A memorandum of understanding was reached in June and details are just now being revealed.

In the meantime, Coldstream launched a failed attempt to establish a regional air quality function, which was denied due to a lack of interest from outlying areas (except Vernon).

The district is still eager to address concerns but has concerns about the MOU, which includes 11 points.

“There are two points in the MOU that I believe could be problematic for the district,” said Trevor Seibel, Coldstream’s chief administrative officer, in a report. “Not because of the ‘issue’ being resolved, but because the District of Coldstream was not consulted in the process and we are essentially being committed to doing something which will require human and financial resources.”

Establishment of a wood stove exchange program and an air quality management committee are the two points of concern due to the downloading on local government.

“If a committee were to be created it would need to be on the terms established by council and not dictated by the province,” Seibel adds.

The MOU also states that Pinnacle will create a website portal for people to register complaints about lighting, noise and odour issues in Lavington.

The company is also required to make reasonable efforts to work with Tolko to minimize truck idling on Jeffers Drive and at the pellet plant.

Meanwhile the ministry must commit to continued ambient monitoring in Lavington until December 2017.

Data from the Lavington Baptist Church monitoring station recorded PM25 at 11.9 for Sept. 29 at 9 a.m. and 15.5 on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. In comparison, the Vernon Science Centre read 14.5 and 11.8 respectively. Data can be viewed at http://www.bcairquality.ca/readings/index.html