By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District board will stay out of a controversy over an application by Lafarge Canada to obtain a new air permit for the production of gypsum granules, at least for now.
Lafarge shut down its cement kiln in 2016 and now wants to produce a mixture of gypsum powder, water and a binder agent, but residents near the South Thompson plant and in Pinantan have expressed concerns.
Lee Morris and David Wieb of East Shuswap Road wrote to the TNRD board Thursday (March 29, 2018) opposing the application due to previous damage they say was done to homes and vehicles when the cement plant was in operation.
They sought clarification on the composition of air emissions from the new proposal, as well as on containment measures, timelines and accountability.
Another resident, Bonnie Tobler, said Lafarge operations “left corrosive staining and damage to the exterior of my home and windows” in the past, and she is concerned about possible health effects.
The TNRD doesn’t have jurisdiction over Lafarge as it’s within the City of Kamloops due to a notch in the boundary that extends over the Lafarge Bridge and onto the north side of the South Thompson River, but has been informed of the proposal and could provide input.
I made the following motion:
“That Lafarge Canada and the Ministry of Environment be requested to provide clarification on the questions raised in the letter from Lee Morris and David Wiebe, as well as on the intended end uses for the extracted material, and comparisons of the level of fugitive dust between the previous kiln operation and the operation for which a new application is being made.”
After considerable debate, the motion was defeated on a 13-13 tie.
Tuesday, Kamloops City council turned down a suggestion from Coun. Denis Walsh by a 5-4 vote that council ask the Ministry of Environment for an “expert” opinion on possible effects on the airshed.
Lafarge will hold a public information session at the South Thompson Inn next Thursday, April 5 from 4 to 6 p.m. The company said the TNRD would have an opportunity to review and comment on the air permit during a Ministry of Environment consultation program and that the government would be seeking input.
The above article does not purport to be an objective news report. It is not written on behalf of the TNRD and any opinions are those of the author.