Aquilini given five months to produce plan
After waiting over a year for a decision on a request for a zoning bylaw change to allow a waste to energy plant in Christina Lake, local residents called for a quick closure to the process.
At the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) board meeting on Oct. 29, a delegation from the Protect Christina Lake group argued for a short time line for the application cut-off date. The original request for a deadline was made by the area C planning committee to the board because of their concern about the impact that this controversial application has had in the community.
Richard White, spokesperson for the Protect Christina Lake group who is opposed to the plant, explained that delays in the decision-making process has created negative impacts for the resort community including lower business levels, poor real estate markets, and lost revenue.
“Just the perception that a hazardous waste factory may come here is enough to ruin dreams, business and the future of hundreds if not thousands. If Mr. Negrin and the Aquilini’s truly care about these impacts on the local population they would have returned with their information as promised,” said White.
RDKB’s Director of Planning and Development, Mark Andison, suggested the date of Mar. 11, 2010 based on advice from legal counsel. The RDKB has never set a date for an application to be completed and this stands as the first time they have had to consider taking a position. Area C director Grace McGregor explained that they will now be considering policies for applications in general.
“I understand your frustration. However, there has never been a deadline given to anyone who has come with any kind of proposal. This is a first for this. Christina Lake is going to be looking at setting dates and time lines because of this particular issue,” said McGregor.
White, however, said that the proposed date of Mar. 11, 2010 was not acceptable. “In our opinion, extending the timeline to 11 March 2010 without a request for an extension from the applicant, and after time has lapsed for their latest commitment, is delaying, not expediting the process. This date essentially sends the wrong message to Mr. Negrin that, in spite of community malaise, Aquilini can continue to take their time.”
Aquilini Investment Group had made the request to change the zoning of the area just south of Christina Lake from light industrial to heavy in the fall of 2008 in order to build a plant that will take waste products from around North America and, through gasification or aneorobic distillation, create energy from the waste. Since the original application, and the planning committee’s request for detailed information prior to making a decision, the Aquilini group has hosted one community consultation meeting.