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Vernon school board to hear community concerns over controversial pellet plant

Area resident Stephanie Hoffman, with her one-year-old daughter Pearl, attended the Vernon School Board meeting with other parents, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014.
August 28, 2014 - 12:02 PM

VERNON - Parents will be given an opportunity to voice their concerns to the Vernon School District regarding a proposed pellet plant.

The district called another meeting on Pinnacle Renewable Energy and Tolko’s plans to build a pellet plant near Lavington Elementary at a special board meeting Wednesday night. 

Residents asked the board to hold off on sending its recommendations on the project to the Ministry of Environment so they could get a chance to share their thoughts and concerns.

Wednesday’s board meeting was called in part to hear from a Pinnacle representative on the matter.

Pinnacle president Leroy Reitsma told trustees dust and emissions from the plant would not harm staff and students at Lavington Elementary.

“We don’t see that there’s a lot of risk there,” Reitsma said.

Pinnacle wants to proceed with the plant, with a focus on addressing the existing background particulate problem in the area.

“It’s about a bigger topic than just our own,” Reitsma said.

Parents pressed the board for a chance to present their side of the debate.

“In the sense of balance and fairness, especially for the children, we need to have balance,” one resident said.

Another community member called for a judicial review of the District of Coldstream’s decision to support rezoning the property in question to allow for construction of the plant.

The window for public input has closed, but Pinnacle made an exception to hear from the school board. Reitsma said the board needs to give its recommendations in the next 7-10 days, leaving trustees little time to schedule a meeting specifically for parents.

After considerable discussion, the board agreed to hold another special meeting, this time for the community, at 4 p.m. on Sept. 2. 

Board chair Bill Turanski said the focus of the meeting will be restricted to staff and student safety, not on reviewing the District of Coldstream’s actions.

The Sept. 2 meeting will be held at the board office on 15 Street. 

To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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