Opinion

Facility needs to be on higher ground

Editor:

Recycling is a good thing, and nothing is more important to recycle than hazardous material like mercury and PCBs. We clearly need facilities such as the one proposed for Chilliwack, but the site chosen has generated a groundswell of opposition for good reason.

I drove to the site to take a look for myself on Tuesday morning. It is a bermed-offwetland, a stone's throw from the Fraser River, drained by a stream and pumpstation discharging water into an adjacent Wildlife Management Area. All the surrounding lands are higher, meaning that water is continually draining into the site. The berm will apparently keep overland floods out during the Fraser freshet, but the water will seep under them through the gravelly soils, requiring continuous pumping to keep the site dry.

Why would we site a facility handling some of the most toxic materials our society produces in such a place? Any spill will seep into the ground and be pumped offsite into sensitive wetlands and the Fraser River. The facility itself may be built to a high standard, but the material must still be transported to and from it. Accidents will happen eventually. City council did not think this one through and their failure to consult with the community allowed their error to go unchecked. This facility needs to be on higher ground.

Mike Pearson PhD, RPBio

Agassiz

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