Chilliwack city council has approved a hazardous waste recycling facility to be located near B.C.’s Fraser River, but controversy continues to follow the project.
Set to be located on Cannor Road, just 150 metres from the Fraser River, the Aevitas Inc. hazardous waste recycling facility is creating fears within environmental circles around the risks of recycling products like lamps, transformer oil and electrical products for fear of byproducts like mercury or PCBs seeping into the famous salmon-bearing river.
While the project still requires approval from the provincial Ministry of Environment, it has been a rocky road for the project following its initial public notice.
The initial description for the public meetings about the rezoning proposal failed to mention that the facility would be handling hazardous waste. Instead, the notice referenced that Chilliwack intended to “facilitate the construction of a waste recycling and transfer facility.”
Outrage over the misleading description started a legal challenge rolling in March 2014 to have a new series of public meetings over rezoning the land. People claimed they would have engaged in the process had they understood the risks.
However, the BC Supreme Court sided with city council in a Dec. 1, 2014 ruling, confirming the city had taken the appropriate steps for rezoning the land.
“I am satisfied that the notice described the ‘general purpose’ of the bylaw sufficiently to enable citizens to decide whether they wanted more information on the bylaw or whether they wished to attend at the public meeting,” the court ruled. “This is not a case where the City attempted, through its notice to the public, to obfuscate or deflect.”