Tolko sawmill permit stirs debate

Efforts to extend the deadline for submissions for an air discharge permit at Tolko have failed

The deadline for submissions for an air discharge permit at Tolko's Lavington sawmill is today.

The deadline for submissions for an air discharge permit at Tolko's Lavington sawmill is today.

Efforts to extend the deadline for submissions for an air discharge permit at Tolko have failed.

Coldstream Coun. Doug Dirk tried to sway his colleagues to request that the time line be pushed from Dec. 20 to Jan. 15.

“I think that we should have more time and I don’t know what their hurry is,” said Dirk.

The draft permit issued by the Ministry of Environment for the Lavington sawmill was just sent out last week, giving interested parties only one week to review it.

Dirk says that is insufficient time to determine if Coldstream’s concerns, which were outlined in an August submission letter, have been addressed.

“Is what they provided satisfy us in relation to the bullets?” Dirk asks. “I just want some time to do it and a level of comfort. I’m not in a place where I feel it’s OK yet.”

Coldstream responded to the permit application with several recommendations:

“Some of the things were addressed and some of them were not addressed,” said Dirk.

Coldstream’s recommendations included:

– adequate and continual monitoring, including data from a secondary source point

– Tolko and Pinnacle pellet plant work collaboratively to develop strategies towards further reducing GHG’s

– Tolko and Pinnacle work to further reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5)

– proper maintenance and operation of the cyclone bag houses, due to explosion risk concerns and the proximity to school, residences, fire hall and rail line

– review of the discharge permit every three to five years by the ministry to ensure actual points of emissions match with the permitted points of emissions

While Coun. Richard Enns agreed that more time was needed to review the draft permit, Dirk’s push for an extension was defeated by councillors Pat Cochrane, Glen Taylor, Gyula Kiss and Peter McClean.

Meanwhile Mayor Jim Garlick trusts that Coldstream’s concerns have been considered by the ministry and Tolko.

“Some don’t speak directly to it but the language leads me to be believe that they have looked at our bullets (recommendation points),” said Garlick.

The draft permit is available for review until the end of today (Tuesday, Dec. 20) at http://tolko.com/responsibility/environmental-social/tolko-lavington-draft-permit.

Questions and/or comments should be sent to both environment@tolko.com and authorizations.south@gov.bc.ca