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CONTRIBUTION · 16th November 2012
Diana Penner
An open letter to the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Terrace City Council and the Ministry of the Environment

On October 19, 2012, RAfaSIE (Residents Advocating for a Sustainable Inclusive Environment) made a presentation to the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine Board. The focus of the presentation was on the community’s view of the local governments lack of public engagement on local waste management issues.

On November 14, 2012, RAfaSIE presented a plea to Terrace City Council to clarify some concerns about the planned closure of the Terrace Landfill and the decision to relocate waste management to the Forceman Ridge site just south of Onion Lake.

The focus then was to identify if there was any sound reasoning for the Terrace Dump closure and if there was any merit in maintaining waste management on that site.

Terrace Sustainability Officer Tara Irwin claims that the wetlands remediation at the Terrace Dump is resulting in safe discharge at the spill out of the treatment pound at the Terrace Landfill Site. Therefore there is no apparent risk to the Kalum River, which was noted as an item of concern to the Ministry of Environment. Continued world-class fishing on the Kalum would support that fishing is not adversely impacted by the landfill.

As far as the public can see there is no reason to close the Terrace Dump as the many hectare site appears to be highly under-utilized especially considering new technology which is planned for the Forceman Ridge site. This technology could just as easily be placed on the Terrace Dump (Landfill) site in its self containment mode.

With over 70% of waste in the area originating from the Terrace Municipal area it would seem environmentally unsound to truck waste a distance that is more than 30 kms out of town.

Based on the increased traffic on Highway 37 the Forceman Ridge location will create traffic hazards and safety concerns on an already congested corridor. In addition it has been proven that the Forceman Ridge site is a natural pathway for a large group of carnivores that migrate from Chist Creek to the Lakelse River, which contradicts the study completed for the Regional District That study indicates the only impact on local wildlife, is to Goshawks.

It appears that the studies completed on the Forceman Ridge site are either inaccurate or incomplete and that little to no professional studies or reviews have been completed to access whether the original Terrace Dump site can be better utilized.

Our collective community group of 1000 members believe the site is not near capacity and the appetite to retain the site as a fenced in “brown field site”, which will require ongoing remediation, does not add value to closing it.

RAfaSIE requests that the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Terrace City Council and the Ministry of the Environment postpone any further development of the Forceman Ridge Site until an independent review be completed to answer the following questions:

1. Can the Terrace Landfill site remain open and operational based on today’s technology?

2. What additional costs are there to the taxpayer if the Terrace Dump closes based on pre-planned alternatives at Forceman Ridge?

3. The choice of closing the Terrace Site to open the Forceman Site will impact the local environment and the habitat of all the wildlife that currently live naturally there, which contradicts the study completed by the RD. So will the Regional District conduct an independent review of impact to wildlife and habitat?

4. If the containment plans proposed at Forceman Ridge are deemed to be safe to the environment, why would they not be safe to be placed on the Terrace Landfill Site where a natural clay base would provide additional backup safety?

5. Why would the Ministry of the Environment support placing a landfill site in the middle of a provincially recognized recreational area, when they can provide waste management on an already well-established site at the Terrace Landfill which is destined to never be more than a fenced in brown field site regardless of closure?

6. Are Ministry of the Environment and local governments in violation of their own required commitment to reduce carbon emissions by supporting a plan for long distance trucking of waste garbage to the Forceman Ridge Site instead of retaining current trucking within the municipality to the local Landfill Sites?

7. Is it possible that the best choice for waste management as of 2012 in the greater Terrace area is not Forceman Ridge with a transfer site at the Thornhill landfill but rather one upgraded site on the parcel of land known as the Terrace Dump (Landfill site)?

RAfaSIE, on behalf of the growing body of concerned citizens, recognizes that the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine has spent some $800,000.00 on studies to convince the community that Forceman Ridge is the best choice.

Just as Kitimat, originally a planned participant in the F.R. landfill process, has re-thought the merits of this plan and has withdrawn its support, so to do more and more of the local population.

We look forward to your thoughtful response.
Time to Re-consider
Comment by Chris on 19th November 2012
Thanks, Diana for speaking up so clearly about this troublesome idea to close one dump (which has many years left in its use) and open another site which is riddled with concerns and unanswered questions! It appears that out-of-town experts' opinions are valued more than those of long-time locals who know the annual weather, ground, water and human conditions well. Forceman's position and ground base cause much concern to those who value the Lakelse watershed. It WILL polute and cost taxpayers a great deal more than they have been told.
Chair, SSBC northern Branch
Comment by Randy Dozzi on 17th November 2012
Great questions that demand answers. And what about the commercial stuff picked up by private contractors? It will go directly to Forceman without being sorted. How many flourescent bulbs, batteries, chemicals and who knows what else will go into the facility? How much mercury will accummulate in the fish that the ospreys and eagles will eat? How much will the chemistry of the wetlands change? What effect will the changes have on Swans and the "internationall significant salmon spawning and rearing habitat"(as described on the BC Govt. site). And have they even thought how we are to afford the forever increasing fuel and labor costs? Why not recycling at the curb, oh right, that would make sense! Keep up the pressure before these guys get us even deeper.
Comment by blocky bear on 17th November 2012
Thank you Dianna for your hard work opposing this crummy idea. Forceman Ridge plan should be scrapped. I did attend your presentation at the offices of R.D. in October,thought it excellent, no flowers just excellent reasoning. Please read my thoughts immediately afterward:
Last night I attended a 7:00 p.m. meeting of The Regional District of Kitimat Stikine. The reason I went was to support an initiative to stop the establishment of a land fill at a place called Forceman Ridge. This dump site is at a place almost perfectly between the cities of Terrace and Kitimat. It promises to befoul water drainages in the area which in turn flow to the main recreational lake in the northwest (Lakelse Lake). It might be paranoia on my part, it seemed the information brought forth in discussion indicates undue pressure by the provincial government to proceed. This is very suspicious, particularly since our current provincial government is under close guidance by the Harper administration. So I pose the question. If this dump determination goes ahead would not it be okay to have whatever ugly industry that wants to move there be okay? If you know me you realize how important this issue is to me. I hate meetings particularly at night and particularly on Friday 7 o`clock, when I am normally watching Bill Maher on HBO. d.b.
Forceman Ridge Site
Comment by James Wold on 16th November 2012
Well written Diana, and it needs to be cancelled . Don't give up on this one as it affects everyone in this area for many, many good reasons.Trying to slide this project under the table just because they foolishly spent $800,000.00 is only throwing good money after bad. Someone needs to wake-up before it is to late.
Who gains
Comment by Terry on 16th November 2012
Is this about trucking contracts? Why not incinerate the garbage that cannot be recycled and make electricity . The technology has improved in a large way . Instead of burning diesel . This whole idea of trucking only makes sense if you own a fleet of trucks or have a buddy that does . Why set up the rate payers as the ultimate loser ?Are the people that are going to work there going to live there ?Or are there going to be more cars commuting to their jobs there ? What about the added trucks on the highway ? Money will be lost . Lives will be lost . Fuel to run this new dump will also be on the highway . This deal stinks worse than the garbage it self.