The Ministry of Environment will look closely at including accountability measures in an air emissions permit application being sought by Lafarge for its Kamloops plant.
About 50 people packed a room at the South Thompson Inn on Thursday night (April 5, 2018) to demand the company be a good neighbour when it starts up a new operation producing gypsum granules. Those living nearby demanded the meeting after word got around about the application.
While Lafarge still has a permit from when it was producing cement, it needs an amendment for its new operation. While the plant is within City of Kamloops boundaries, it is surrounded by Electoral Area P of the TNRD.
Those in attendance peppered Lafarge officials and a Ministry of Environment representative with concerns about possible health risks and air pollution, wanting to know what to expect. Many said Lafarge had not been a good corporate neighbour in the past when its cement plan was in operation.
“There is no trust,” said one resident. “You’ve got to play ball with us.”
Turning to environmental protection officer Jason Lasuik, she said to applause, “Don’t issue that permit without some parameters so that we’re protected.”
“We’re just scared of opening a door where the same thing happens again,” said another resident.
Consensus in the room seemed to be that monitoring of air emissions has been lax in the past, and more assurances need to be in place this time, including a robust monitoring system.
Lafarge offered to look at establishing a liaison committee to ensure residents are kept informed of developments at the plant and that they have a way to raise concerns.
Lasiuk said it might be possible to write such a process into the permit amendment. “We’ll look at it,” he said.
He said that while April 30 is the stated deadline for public submissions on the proposal, it’s “not hard and fast,” and could be extended if necessary. He expects a decision to be made in about three months.
— Mel Rothenburger, Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD