Chilliwack gives OK to hazardous waste recycling facility
First Nations and environmental groups feel project is threat to Fraser River
CBC News Posted: Jan 06, 2015 1:23 PM PT Last Updated: Jan 06, 2015 4:24 PM PT
The City of Chilliwack, B.C. has unanimously approved the building of a new hazardous waste recycling facility just metres from the Fraser River.
The controversial project has been widely criticized by First Nations and environmental groups,saying the risk is too great for byproducts like mercury and PCB to seep in to the water.
"It's really just a stone's throw away from the Fraser River. We can't forget the Fraser is the largest salmon producing river in the world and, to have a facility like that which will handle highly toxic materials is the basis of the controversy," said Sto:lo Tribal Council fisheries advisor Ernie Crey.
Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver supports the idea of a recycling plant, but believes it should be built somewhere else.
"It is a pretty active fishing area for our people. If anything should go wrong there, there's no doubt that the Fraser would be affected," said Silver.
'If anything should go wrong there, there's no doubt that the Fraser would be affected.'- Chief Dalton Silver, Sumas First Nation
The Watershed Salmon Society is also opposed to the project.
"We're told nine layers of containment within the facility will ensure there would be no spills, however we've not had an opportunity to see these reports," said spokesperson Lina Azeez.
While Chilliwack city council has given the project the green light, the final approval is up to B.C. Ministry of Environment.
Files from Farrah Merali