Metro urges environmental review of Aevitas

Regional district concerned about proposed location of hazardous waste recycling plant in Chilliwack near Fraser River

Proposed site in Chilliwack near the Fraser River for a hazardous materials recycling plant.

A hazardous waste processing facility proposed to be built next to the Fraser River in Chilliwack should be subjected to a provincial environmental assessment, Metro Vancouver regional district directors say.

The regional board is expected to pass that recommendation from its climate action committee after concerns were raised about the potential risk to downstream communities in the event of a spill.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan said the Chilliwack location of the proposed Aevitas recycling plant within 200 metres of the Fraser presents serious risks that require a detailed environmental review.

“My initial reaction was this is something people would have done in the 1950s,” Corrigan said. “Why would you do this there given all the other potential locations?”

The plant would recycle metal, glass and mercury from light bulbs and remove PCBs from transformer oil for re-use but the prospect has stirred up fierce opposition in the Fraser Valley.

The province is considering an environmental assessment but has first directed Aevitas to engage in more public consultation.

Corrigan said he’s concerned more consultation will take the place of a full review.

Chilliwack city council has agreed to the project in principle and rezoned the land, but a final approval decision rests with the environment ministry.