September 15, 2014 - 11:10 AM
VERNON - A proposed pellet plant in Lavington doesn’t have the support of the Vernon school district.
In a letter to the Ministry of Environment, board chair Bill Turanski said the board received conflicting information about the project.
“The board’s primary concern must, in every case, be the health and welfare of the students and if we err it will be on the side of caution.” Turanski said.
The board held two meetings on the subject before sending its recommendations to the Ministry; one to hear from the operator of the plant, Pinnacle Renewable Energies (partnered with Tolko) and another to get input from concerned parents and community members.
The proposed plant would go up beside Tolko’s existing mill near Lavington Elementary School.
Pinnacle president Leroy Reitsma told school board trustees there was little risk to staff and student health but parents insisted particulate matter, fugitive dust, increased traffic, as well as noise and light pollution would impact health. A citizens group called Lavington is For Everyone (LIFE) collected over 500 signatures on a petition against the location of the proposed plant.
Turanski said there were major conflicts with the data provided by both groups.
“The school district does not have the expertise or the resources to determine the accuracy of the information provided in these presentations,” he said.
“As a result, due to the uncertain nature of the information received, the board cannot endorse the construction of the pellet plant operation.”
The board is urging the Ministry to review the proposal thoroughly and to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and students at Lavington Elementary.
In August, the District of Coldstream granted Pinnacle the land rezoning required to build the plant in the intended location.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014