The community of Steelhead is banding together in an attempt to prevent a proposed asphalt plant from coming to their area.
Residents first heard about the proposed plant after receiving a public hearing notification from the district.
That hearing, which took place in December, attracted a large crowd who came to speak against the idea.
If approved, the plant would be located in the area of 11546 and 11596 Dewdney Trunk Rd. The two properties consist of approximately 20.9 acres and are located in the Steelhead area.
During the December meeting, council decided to defer the proposal until more information can be obtained.
However, Dan Simon, chairman of the Steelhead Community Association, said residents are worried council will eventually approve the request for rezoning, which will pave the way for an asphalt plant.
He said the association wants Mission Mayor Pam Alexis to reopen the public hearing so residents can ask more questions and, hopefully, convince council to reject the application.
Simon said the district sent letters to homes that were within a 1,500-metre radius of the proposed plant, which is a larger area than normal.
However, it still left many people in the community unaware.
“The people in lower Steelhead got the letters but the people in upper Steelhead were left in the dark,” Simon said.
Many residents are concerned about the impacts the plant might have on their health.
“One of our main concerns is the emissions. That’s the main concern. There are all sorts of carcinogenics and chemicals released into the air,” Simon said.
He said the loading process is also a sticking point with residents because, if they load the vehicles out in the open, that also emits into the air.
Drinking water is another concern. Most Steelhead residents are on well water and people are worried about chemicals and particulates getting into the water.
Then there is the risk of a wildfire.
Simon said the proposed plant will be using waste oil to dry the aggregate, which he claims will create a fire risk in the forested area.
“And there are no fire hydrants in that area.”
Rounding out their concerns is the increased truck traffic and the particulates in the air: dust and dirt.
“We feel it should be in a heavily industrial location with no residents nearby… Ultimately, we just don’t feel this is an appropriate area for this asphalt plant,” Simon said.
He called Steelhead a growing community where people come to raise their families.
“We knew we were buying property in a tree farm, and that there are gravel pits in the area, and I think we feel that we have done our part. We are OK with logging trucks and gravel trucks but we are not in favour of this new step.”
To garner more support for their cause, an online petition has been set up to allow people to voice their opposition.
More than 2,200 signatures had been collected as of Wednesday afternoon. The petition can be found at change.org.
Simon says the plant wouldn’t just impact residents of the area, but anyone who enjoys the area, including hikers, mountain bikers and boaters.
“We are trying to appeal to as large an area as we can.”