A large group of protesters converged on Mission City Hall on Monday night to voice their opposition to a proposed mobile asphalt plant.
If approved, the plant would be located on 11546 and 11596 Dewdney Trunk Rd. in the Steelhead area.
The protesters, most of whom are residents of Steelhead, held up homemade signs and chanted “No plant in Steelhead!” outside of city hall.
The protest was organized to send a message to the councillors and to raise awareness of the plant to the rest of the community.
Dan Simon, chairman of the Steelhead Community Association and one of the protest organizers, said issues including air and water quality are at the top of the list of concerns.
“We’re here attending the Mission council meeting to let council know that we are not happy about this proposed asphalt plant in Steelhead and that we are trying to do everything we can to keep it out of our neighbourhood,” Simon said.
In December, council held a public hearing regarding a zoning-change request. The applicant wants the zoning of the two Dewdney Trunk Road properties changed from the Industrial Resource Extraction Zone to the Industrial Resource Extraction and Processing Zone to allow the asphalt plant.
After many speakers voiced their opposition to the plant, council eventually deferred making any decision until a new report, containing more information, could be reviewed to answer the public’s concerns.
But residents in Steelhead want the opportunity to ask more questions and raise other concerns – which isn’t permitted once the public hearing has been closed.
“We want city council to reopen the public hearing so that they can hear from everybody about this and they can make an informed decision. It’s a poorly planned idea,” said Simon, adding that the plant should be in a heavy industrial area and nowhere near residences and nowhere near the recreational areas of Steelhead.
As the protesters put down their signs and came into the council chambers, Mission Mayor Pam Alexis told them they were welcome to stay, but the asphalt plant was not on the agenda and wouldn’t be debated that night.
A short while later, most of the protesters left the building.
After the meeting was complete, Alexis told The Record that the people are welcome to protest.
“However, we are waiting for a staff report to come back to council that will address the questions and concerns that the community had, and that council had, and until that time – because the public hearing is closed – we can’t engage in further information or conversation with the community. It’s just illegal,” explained Alexis, who urged the public to have patience.
“Just give us some time and let the process take place, unfold, and we will be making the best possible decision moving forward.”
Alexis also said council is hoping to make a “couple of field trips” to look at existing plants so they “know exactly what we’re talking about.”
“Nothing has been decide. This is just the process that we have to go through.”
While no exact time line has been set, council is hopeful the new report on the asphalt plant will come before them sometime in February.