March 17, 2015 - 3:26 PM
LAVINGTON - Construction may have started on a pellet plant in Lavington, but in six months time, an appeal will be heard over the company’s operating permit.
Three local residents and members of Lavington Is For Everyone (LIFE) filed an appeal with the Environmental Appeal Board, calling for a review of the Ministry of Environment’s decision to give Pinnacle Renewable Energy a permit to operate. The hearing is set for Sept. 21 to Oct. 2 in Vernon. The exact location has yet to be determined.
“We continue to work on our case and we think we have a strong one,” Tom Coape-Arnold, one of the appellants, says.
The Ministry issued the permit this past winter with the condition that pollution control equipment be upgraded at the adjacent Tolko sawmill before operations begin. Because the project did not meet the Ministry’s threshold for a full environmental assessment, the only information reviewed was that included in Pinnacle’s technical assessment and consultation report. For Coape-Arnold, that’s not nearly enough scrutiny.
“I just keep thinking of that fateful day at Coldstream council where the mayor said he had to entrust the matter into the hands of experts. In our opinion, the experts (Ministry of Environment) have not done the job they should be doing,” Coape-Arnold says.
Opponents have a number of concerns with the industrial activity, which will take sawdust and shavings from the Tolko sawmill and turn it into wood pellets. Air pollution, increased truck and freight traffic, and the risk of fires and explosions are some of the problems concerned residents have with the pellet plant, which would be located next to Lavington Elementary School.
“We think there are fundamental flaws in both the analysis put forward by Pinnacle and in the Ministry of Environment’s assessment thereof,” Coape-Arnold says. “The more we look, the more we find that these are serious flaws.”
Construction of the pellet plant is expected to take about seven months.
An interview request was made however the Ministry of Environment failed to respond by press time.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015