Candidates urged to take a stand on incineration

Metro Vancouver's plan to build a waste-to-energy garbage incinerator is the single biggest issue facing Fraser Valley residents: Gaetz

Metro Vancouver’s plan to build a waste-to-energy garbage incinerator is the single biggest issue facing Fraser Valley residents, according to Fraser Valley Regional District board chair Sharon Gaetz. FVRD is calling on candidates running for an MLA seat in the Valley to declare a position on the incinerator.

“On behalf of all Fraser Valley residents, I want to ask each political candidate to offer a direct answer on where they stand on garbage incineration in the region,” FVRD chair Sharon Gaetz said in a release. “Deferring to any outside environmental or planning process isn’t an answer — people deserve to know whether their next MLA will fight for or against burning garbage — period.”

FVRD stated that a WTE incinerator in Metro Vancouver would create as much smog as 30,000 additional cars on the road, and the emitted pollutants would drift to Fraser Valley’s airshed.

“Here in the Fraser Valley, the main issue for residents and voters is the threat to our air quality. It needs to be a key issue for all the individuals aiming to be elected as MLAs,” said Gaetz. “There are plenty of other reasons — like the burning of materials that should be recycled, and filling landfills with the highly toxic ash left over from the process — that play a part of the larger debate.”

At an all-candidates’ panel meeting in Chilliwack on April 18, no candidate supported the WTE plan.

“We’re against the incinerator, and we’ll block any efforts to have Metro Vancouver’s garbage incinerated anywhere near to here,” said Conservative candidate for Chilliwack, Chad Eros. Indeed, B.C. Conservatives Leader John Cummins announced last week that his party will oppose the WTE project if elected.

Liberal Leader Christy Clark told Black Press in March that her government would prevent Metro Vancouver from imposing a WTE project if it negatively impacts Fraser Valley’s airshed.

Local candidate for Chilliwack-Hope, Laurie Throness, explained that this would come after an environmental assessment.

“The B.C. Liberal government actually passed a law last year in response to Chilliwack’s issue with this, that will require that incinerator to go through a full environmental assessment,” said Throness.

The NDP is the only major party that has not publicly denounced the project. Leader Adrian Dix told Black Press that his party will develop a plan for Metro Vancouver’s garbage incineration.

Local New Democratic candidate for Chilliwack, Patti MacAhonic, does not believe the incinerator is a good idea.

“I know in Cultus Lake in the summer time…with the traffic and everything, our air quality goes down. We cannot afford to have any more pressure on our air quality,” said MacAhonic at the all-candidates’ meeting.

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