A large crowd opposed to a plan to set up a mobile asphalt plant in Steelhead converged on Mission City Hall on Monday night.
The public hearing on the proposed project saw almost every speaker voice their opposition and concerns regarding the plant.
According to the staff report, the applicant wants to rezone the properties at 11546 and 11596 Dewdney Trunk Road from the Industrial Resource Extraction Zone to the Industrial Resource Extraction and Processing Zone to allow a mobile asphalt plant.
The two properties consist of approximately 20.9 acres and are located in the Steelhead area.
The report also says the “subject site is currently surrounded by resource extraction activity, and the addition of a mobile asphalt plant is considered to have little or no impact on the surrounding neighbourhood.”
However, residents of Steelhead did not agree and raised concerns that included diminishing air quality, smell, noise, truck traffic, environmental concerns and more.
Local resident Candace Koch told council there are many unanswered questions about the proposal, including the amount of asphalt to be produced, the equipment being used and the quality of the technology to prevent or reduce emissions.
“Particulate matter from this operation will travel. Those living with breathing issues, asthma, immune compromised and seniors are most at risk,” Koch said.
Other speakers raised concerns about the location.
“Personally, I don’t want it in our neighbourhood. I don’t know if any of you would want it in your neighbourhood, but I definitely don’t want it in mine,” said John Berlinquette.
Another speaker worried about how the proposed plant would impact his family.
“My family is breathing the air that will be coming out of this asphalt processing plant. We are also on well water at the property, so my family – including my wife, who has severe asthma, and my six-year-old daughter – drinks this water… Obviously, I’m concerned.”
Speaker after speaker voiced similar concerns.
In the end, council – much like they did after a recent public hearing regarding a proposed air curtain burner in Hatzic – decided to defer the proposal until more information can be obtained to answer the public’s questions.
“I’m asking if staff can come back with some kind of report to council on the concerns that were brought forward by just about everybody in the audience tonight, before I’m prepared to consider the application,” said Coun. Carol Hamilton.
There is no timeline for when the issue will return to council.