It appears a new waste-to-energy incineration facility will become a reality for Metro Vancouver.
Metro has been pushing the idea forward for the past two years, despite strong opposition from the Fraser Valley Regional District and many Valley residents.
At risk is the Fraser Valley’s unique and sensitive air shed, and the health of residents who will breathe whatever toxins a Lower Mainland incineration plant will pump into the air.
The assurance of incineration proponents that technology can remove most of the pollutants is insufficient. Not enough is known about the dioxins and nano-particles created by burning trash.
The provincial government has given its nod to the Metro plan, and while there are conditions attached to the environment minister’s approval, it means incineration will almost undoubtedly be part of future waste management for this region.
So is the fight over?
No. Opposition should, and will, continue. However, the battle lines are changing. It appears opponents now have to focus on the location of an incineration plant, rather than blocking it entirely.
As part of the consultation process, the FVRD will meet with Metro to discuss concerns, such as incineration emissions. In that regard, a proposed site in Gold River on Vancouver Island is clearly a better choice.
That may sound like NIMBYism, but the geography and wind patterns of this area dictate that the emissions of an incineration facility located anywhere in the Lower Mainland will be trapped in the Valley.
The stance has to be “not here.”
And that position has to be unified, and strong, and loud.