Pitt Meadows considers environmental manager

Lafarge complaint prompts potential hiring, mayor senior government not enforcing

A local environmentalist’s complaints about a discharge from the Lafarge Quarry on Sheridan Hill has prompted Pitt Meadows council to investigate hiring an environmental manager.

At last week’s meeting, Jack Emberly detailed for council how an anonymous source from the quarry contacted Scott Magri, of the Katzie Slough Restoration Project, asking him to look into a discharge from the quarry into the Pitt River.

Emberly and Magri canoed the river, and on March 9 found an area where silt was discharging from a pipe onto a wetland. Emberly worked to get the Ministry of Environment and city hall to investigate, and had Pitt Meadows engineering services coordinator Ike deBoer come with him to see the site. He was unable to get cooperation from senior government.

“What is the discharge, in what volume, over what period of time,” asked Emberly.

Pitt Meadows Mayor John Becker said city hall has also been frustrated in bringing senior government into the enforcement of its own regulations, and said he would like to see some “environmental capacity” at city hall “to deal with these kinds of concerns.”

He said city hill will not “be taking on the pipe by resolution.”

Lafarge eased concerns about the discharge.

“Lafarge uses water in its operations to wash the rock that is mined,” wrote communications director Jennifer Lewis. “We keep this water on site and, by using a series of man-made settling ponds, we are able to recycle the water for use again and again. The silt and sediment washed off the rock falls to the bottom of the settling ponds.”

She said the drainage pipe found by Emberly and Magri is used for pumping out rainwater that collects in the quarry. The pump is attached to a drainage line, which carries the rainwater to a large vegetated area on Lafarge property.

“Since the pump is at the bottom of our mining area, it can pick up rock dust in the flow when moving water out of the area. The purpose of the vegetated area is to allow that dust to settle out of the water before it flows into the Pitt River,” she said.

In a recent review with the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, it was recommended that Lafarge give even more time for settling to occur, she said.

As a result, the company reduced the length of the pipe by approximately 200 feet and added large rocks to dissipate the speed of water flow, “so that there is plenty of time for settling.”

“We are proud of this effort, which minimizes the strain on Pitt River and is an example of how Lafarge is working on water stewardship across Canada,” she said.

Becker later said a new person may need to be hired for “environmental capacity” at city hall because existing staff will not likely have the appropriate skill set, or available time.

The new position would need expertise in environmental monitoring, enforcement and jurisdiction.

He said the city dealt with complaints about a half-sunken barge on the Alouette River, and senior government did not take charge. Similar environmental complaints have arisen since.

“The frustration on council goes back a decade,” he said.

“Hand wringing and finger pointing is no longer adequate.”

He said council will have to balance whether the benefit of such a position balance with the cost.

“It will go through the business planning process.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pair of Maple Ridge wrestlers earns full ride at SFU

Marquesis Haintz and Ryan Hicks are two of B.C.s top young grapplers

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Bandits super fan celebrates 100th birthday

Abbotsford resident Gladys Sautter surprised by Bandits representatives on big day

Pitt Meadows man vying for a spot in Toastmasters world finals

Stefano Cossalter’s speech about perspective won the District 21 finals

Maple Ridge Museum hosts time travelling photo contest

Residents are asked to replica 10 old images from the museum archives – and have fun while doing it

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Thanks for helping The News to continue its mission to provide trusted local news

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Suspect sought in alleged assault, hate crime on Metro Vancouver bus: transit police

The woman then allegedly punched the teenager in the head multiple times

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

B.C. Hockey League prepping for 2020-21

League reviewing different scenarios and start times in compliance with provincial regulations

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read