Bright lights at the new Pinnacle Pellet Plant in Lavington are causing concern for many residents.

Bright lights at the new Pinnacle Pellet Plant in Lavington are causing concern for many residents.

Plant concerns piling up

Answers continue to be sought in hopes of clearing the air over some concerns with Lavington’s new pellet plant

Answers continue to be sought in hopes of clearing the air over some concerns with Lavington’s new pellet plant.

Resident complaints recently forced Coldstream to dig into issues around the Pinnacle Pellet Plant, ranging from sawdust storage to truck traffic.

A report was compiled by staff, but council insists additional information is needed, including presentations from Tolko, Pinnacle and the Ministry of Environment (who have all been sent invitations but no dates or times have been set yet).

One outstanding issue is the lack of an air quality monitor, which Coldstream is waiting for the MoE to install.

Staff investigated the feasibility of purchasing its own monitor and determined it would be $68,000 plus another $48,000 each year for operational costs, calibration and maintenance.

Coun. Richard Enns questioned the numbers.

“From what I understand, there are other systems available that are quite a bit cheaper,” said Enns.

But discussions also took place on whether data from any monitors independent of the ministry would even be considered.

“Anybody can go and purchase one,” said Coun. Doug Dirk. “Is that data going to be of any value, is MoE not going to look at this data as valid?”

Enns insisted that further investigation was needed.

“I think it’s important that we look at other options, in the same way that we used community resources to buy a speed reader board.”

He continued, “So we can be in the position of watchdog and not lapdog in concern to this issue.”

Another unresolved issue is lighting.

“At 40 feet high, these lights are like spotlights,” said Lavington resident Stephanie Hoffman. “I’d like to see some resolution to the lighting problem that we did address.”

Storage of sawdust is another issue residents have, as a large pile continues to accumulate outside the enclosed tent.

“Previous information presented indicates that ‘primary fibre storage in two fully enclosed tents,’” Coldstream’s chief administrative officer Trevor Seibel said in his report. “In follow up with Pinnacle they indicated that occasional staging of material will be needed before they move into the appropriate enclosed tent.”

Meanwhile three Lavington residents have taken matters into their own hands and have filed an appeal to the permit issued to Pinnacle. There is an environmental appeal board hearing, scheduled to begin April 18, 2016.

Due to this process, MoE will not engage in a public discussion regarding the issues.

But Meghan Butler, lawyer for MoE did state: “Our client is aware of the concerns from the community respecting the emissions emanating from the Pinnacle facility since its start-up on or about Sept. 28, 2015 and is undertaking an investigation of same, for which due process must be followed.”