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.”

 

Just Posted

Maple Ridge women’s shelter society gets a $2.1-million boost

Cythera Transition House Society gets money for 21 homes

Maple Ridge councillors named to local groups

Division of labour for new council

BC Ferries passengers wait to leave Vancouver Island after Remembrance Day

Traffic aboard BC Ferries slows after Remembrance Day long weekend

Operation Red Nose ready for 11th year in Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows

The new host organization this year is Kidsport Maple Ridge/Pitt Meadows.

Gardening: George and the family berry plan

Pitt Meadows family’s farm roots go back to 1925.

Clear skies for Fraser Blues Remembrance Day flyby

It was the first time the formation team flew over the Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows Remembrance Day ceremonies

Canada Post no longer guarantees delivery times amid more rotating strikes

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers closed two major processing centres in Ontario and B.C.

B.C. city councillor resigns as AutismBC director amid SOGI controversy

AutismBC president Gary Robins says Laurie Guerra’s resignation is effective Nov. 12

McGill students vote overwhelmingly to change Redmen team nickname

Student union held a referendum after a campaign by Indigenous students

B.C. university Pride group replaces white supremacy posters

Around 50 people walked through downtown Victoria to share posters of love

B.C. to invest $492 million in affordable homes

72 new projects are part of a 10-year, $1.9-billion strategy

Around the BCHL: Surrey Eagles sliding and Cassidy Bowes flows

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and around the junior A world.

Pit bull cross, chihuahua owners must split costs for dogfight damage, judge rules

Eac side responsible for $577.43 towards injuries in Comox Valley incident

3 random words mark every spot on earth

Innovative mapping system assigns three word combinations to 57 trillion 3 metre squares

Most Read