Plant process flawed

Resident upset with the move towards a pellet plant in Lavington

I am still sitting here wondering how Lavington has become viewed as being the major industrial area of Coldstream.

If we proposed this pellet plant to be anywhere along the rail within the Coldstream area, meaning not in Lavington, most residents would be up in arms and against it all the same.

Most people figure that since we already have the mill here, what’s another industry? But that’s not the point. The point from the very beginning is the fact that we already have one of the poorest air qualities in all of B.C., with Vernon pushing provincial standards of 8ug/m3, with a value of 7.75ug/m3. Our district mayor and council seem to be disregarding the health concerns associated with trying to squeeze one more large industrial polluter into our neighborhood.

There was mention of an airshed management program to possibly be implemented to help residents clean up their acts toward the environment in order to make an allowance to facilitate the emissions that will be negatively contributing to our existing air quality.  Why is the onus being placed on the residents to make compromises so this facility can barely fit into our community?

Coldstream bears the motto, “rural living at its best” and has established an official community plan which has written bylaws that are supposed to protect the very nature of our environment’s air, land and water.

Allowing such an industry as Pinnacle, with emissions that could be of great risk to human health, seems like the bylaws are of insignificant value in council’s decision to rezone the land from RU2 to general industrial.

A few key points stated in Coldstream’s OCP are that, “council’s objective is to preserve the rural and agricultural character of Coldstream to the greatest extent possible” and, “except for lands identified as possible future residential area, discourage the redesignation of rural two land for more intense land uses.”

When school board chairperson Bill Turanski requested that council consider postponing third reading until Aug. 27 when they have their first preliminary meeting, Mayor Garlick basically told him it was too late and that this has been going on for three weeks now. Shouldn’t this information have been conveyed to the school board at the time when Pinnacle’s application was made public?

This is where I truly believe the entire process has been flawed from the very beginning. There was no community awareness on the matter until it was too late.

People have been heard saying that this makes economic sense and will bring families home from working up north. Most people I know choose to work up north not because of the lack of jobs here at home, but the fact that there is more money to be made there. Most people who are working away from home work in the oil industry as that is what they are trained for. They are not working in a pellet plant away from home in Prince George or Burns Lake.

So how are 20 jobs in a pellet plant going to bring these people home?

I believe that it is so much easier to be ignorant than it is to become informed as that takes time and effort.

I have to say that it is truly awesome that the more than 550 people who signed our petition chose to become informed.

 

Stephanie Hoffman

Coldstream