Metro urged to push for better air testing

Environment

John Gleeson / Staff Writer
May 22, 2014 01:10 PM

With Port Mellon short-listed as a possible site for a new Metro Vancouver incinerator, the Town of Gibsons will ask Metro to work with the provincial Ministry of Environment to install permanent air monitoring stations in the region.

The move, recommended by chief administrative officer Mani Machado, would provide a baseline of air quality data prior to the potential approval of a new incinerator later this decade, regardless of whether Port Mellon is chosen as the site.

Currently the Ministry of Environment has one monitoring station on the west side of Howe Sound, located in Langdale and monitored by Howe Sound Pulp and Paper under its permitting requirements.

Coun. Lee Ann Johnson, who has advocated in the past for increased air quality monitoring, called Machado’s proposal “a really good idea.”

“It will take some lobbying with the Ministry of Environment, for sure, but at the same time, here’s our chance. Let’s go for it,” Johnson said at council’s May 13 committee of the whole meeting.

In his report, Machado said Metro monitors air quality on the Lower Mainland with 27 permanent stations and “a very nifty mobile unit,” and regulates air emissions under an air quality management bylaw. Outside of the Metro area, the Ministry of Environment is responsible for air quality management.

Machado’s report also provided details about Metro’s April 30 workshop in Burnaby, where an overview of the site selection process for a new incinerator was given to municipal and First Nation officials.

To date, three potential sites have been announced for the project — Aquilini Renewable Energy’s Port Mellon site on Squamish Nation lands, Lehigh Cement’s Delta site, and Wheelabrator and Urbaser’s Duke Point site, which Nanaimo council rejected last month in the face of widespread public opposition.

Metro postponed a public information meeting in Gibsons planned for this month until next year, saying it wanted to have a complete list of potential sites first, including any of the six that were submitted under a separate request for proposals.

Machado said he agreed with Metro’s approach. “Until that complete list is available, it won’t be as meaningful a discussion with the community,” he said.

The Sunshine Coast Regional District is also calling on the Ministry of Environment for beefed-up air quality monitoring to ensure baseline data is collected, with the board passing a recommendation to that effect at its May 15 planning and development committee meeting.


© Coast Reporter

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