Disappointing is among the milder word that can be used to describe the province’s decision to endorse Metro’s regional waste plan, which includes the incineration of garbage.
Unacceptable is closer to the mark.
On Monday, Minister of Environment Terry Lake gave his approval, despite loud and sustained opposition to burning of waste – particularly from the Valley, and its regional representatives.
Those voices, along with a number of experts, have expressed their concerns over the known issues associated with the waste-to-energy incineration option – and more importantly, the risks that aren’t fully understood, such as the effects of nanoparticles and dioxins that are produced in the process.
Apprently, those arguments were not enough to cause the environment minister to axe or restrict the incineration portion of the plan, which also calls for a serious push for increased recycling and composting of household organics. The latter, we heartily support.
It’s not a done deal yet.
Assuming the Metro board will actually pursue the incineration option (little doubt there), it has to clear the location hurdle.
That’s obviously key for the Fraser Valley, since it’s a simple fact that the emissions from a waste-to-energy plant in the Lower Mainland will be driven into the Valley already stressed airshed due to the area’s geography.
If incineration is to proceed, a far better option would be a site far away from our backyard, such as the proposed Gold River alternative on Vancouver Island.
Ostensibly, if Metro and the FV regional district can’t reach agreement on the matter, it will go to arbitration.
Hopefully, there’s still plenty of fight left in this region’s politicians and public.
This battle isn’t – can’t be – over.