By MEL ROTHENBURGER
Director, Electoral Area P, TNRD
A controversial plan for an eco-depot in the Cache Creek-Ashcroft area has been sent back to the drawing boards.
The Thompson-Nicola Regional District unanimously defeated third reading of an omnibus bylaw Thursday (April 18, 2019) that included rezoning a piece of land for construction of an eco-depot at Boston Flats.
Residents turned up in force at a public hearing in the TNRD board room to express concerns about the plan, including fears of leaching from compost bins into the Bonaparte River, noise and traffic congestion, odour, unsightliness and erosion.
Environmental Health Services manager Jamie Viera answered the concerns and provided an FAQ handout to the board. However, in response to my questions, it became clear that while all consultation guidelines had been followed, the same information had not gotten to everybody.
As one resident put it, “People are really in the dark, still.”
Some, it seemed, misunderstood what an eco-depot is.
I asked how the process could be put on hold so further consultation could be initiated, and development services director Regina Sadilkova explained that the board would have to defeat the bylaw at third reading. Then, second reading would have to be rescinded and amended, second reading passed again, and a new public hearing held.
This, of course, would delay things but she said the other two parts of the bylaw — one dealing with amendments to cannabis regulations and the other with second dwellings — were not urgent.
It quickly became obvious that other directors shared concerns about the level of public understanding of the proposal.
Third reading of the bylaw was unanimously defeated by the 26 directors, a rare occurrence at the board table. Staff will now regroup on how to proceed.