While the economy is one of the bigger issues up for debate during B.C.’s election campaign, garbage incineration is surfacing as an important topic in the Fraser Valley.
The BC Conservatives have already announced they will oppose the construction of a waste-to-energy (incineration) plant in the Lower Mainland.
The Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) has been opposing the incinerator from the beginning, saying it will negatively impact the local airshed.
Local candidates are taking similar positions.
Liberal Darryl Plecas (Abbotsford South) has already spoken against the idea, saying “only an idiot” would support incineration if they lived in Abbotsford. He said other technologies should be explored.
Aird Flavelle (Abbotsford-Mission) and Stephen O’Shea (Abbotsford West), both representing the Green Party, agree that incineration is not an option in the Fraser Valley. However, O’Shea said he could see incineration being a possibility in a different location, such as Vancouver Island, as an alternative to trucking waste to Cache Creek.
Sukhi Dhami (NDP candidate in Abbotsford West) said his party “will not support approval of incinerators in the Lower Mainland region.”
Liberal candidate Simon Gibson (Abbotsford-Mission) said based on the information he’s seen, construction of a plant “would not be in the best interest of the health of our community.”
Abbotsford-Mission candidate Preet Rai (NDP) said he is against an incinerator, calling it a “significant issue.”
Independent John van Dongen (Abbotsford-South incumbent) said he’s been “actively opposing the garbage incinerator for the past year.”
When asked if he supported incineration in the Lower Mainland, Abbotsford West incumbent Mike de Jong (Liberal) said “not unless we’re certain air quality isn’t adversely affected.” As for incineration outside the Lower Mainland, de Jong said “the same test applies.”
Moe Gill (independent candidate for Abbotsford West) said he has voted against incineration as a member of Abbotsford council and the FVRD.
Lakhvinder Jhaj, NDP candidate for Abbotsford South, said she would not support anything that impacts the local airshed.
Conservatives Don Stahl (Abbotsford-Mission) and Paul Redekopp (Abbotsford West) both agreed with their leader, stating they were against incineration in the Lower Mainland. Both are open to a plant being built outside of the area.
Marcus Halliday (Excalibur Party in Abbotsford-Mission) is opposed to incineration, saying he’d rather protect the air, not pollute it.
Only Independent candidate Roman Bojczuk (Abbotsford-Mission) said he had no opinion on the issue. He said it doesn’t matter what he thinks – he follows “the will of the people.”
Wendy Bales (independent candidate for Abbotsford-Mission) and Kerry-lynn Osbourne (Excalibur candidate for Abbotsford West) could not be reached by press time.