A group of Brookswood and South Surrey residents are asking for the Township of Langley’s help in their quest for a ‘zero emissions’ rule at the Campbell Heights business park.
Amy Morose, Terry McNeice and Frank Mueggenburg spoke to council on Monday evening (April 10) regarding the Weir Canada and Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. air quality permit applications to Metro Vancouver.
The Weir site, located at 18933 34A Ave., mainly manufactures rubber-lined steel pipes. Their application projects annual emissions of 2.49 tonnes per year, down from an initial projection of 42 tonnes per year.
The Ebco site at 18699 25 Ave. provides metal finishing and hot-dip galvanizing services. The plant’s short-term permission to discharge air contaminants was put on hold last year when the Environmental Appeal Board issued a stay. The company is now applying for a new air quality permit.
Both facilities are surrounded by farmland and soon-to-be residential housing in the Brookswood-Fernridge area. Although the businesses are technically in Surrey, area residents are requesting the Township ask for copies of any studies on potential health issues, and dispersion modelling to show the impact of the emissions on the surrounding areas. They also want a public information meeting held for residents in Langley.
“As a resident of Brookswood, I am very concerned with the health effects these two plants are going to have on my neighbours, my family, everyone in Brookswood-Fernridge, and elsewhere in Langley,” Morose said on behalf of the Brookswood-Fernridge Community Association.
“These two plants are within blocks of residents’ homes, seniors centres, mobile home parks, schools and daycare centres in Langley. There is not an invisible wall around these plants to keep the emissions on their property. Their is not an invisible wall on 196 Street buffering Langley from Surrey.”
Not only are the residents concerned about air quality, they are also worried how these emissions could impact water and the Brookswood aquifer.
McNeice, who is from South Surrey, said that FOI (freedom of information) requests have revealed one of the chemicals used in the Ebco operation is Nickel (II) Chloride. A photo he has of a container for this product says it “may cause cancer by inhalation” and is “toxic to aquatic organism (and) may cause long-term adverse effects in the aquatic environment.”
“Our concern is Surrey is allowing these industrial plants in basically what we call our farming community,” McNeice said. “There’s conventional and organic farmers, many farms are on well water (and) these plants are close to the East Kensington Elementary School.”
McNeice believes the residents have received “complete lack of support” from City of Surrey council, who told him to take his concerns to Metro Vancouver. Metro Vancouver, meanwhile, has told him that it is the City of Surrey that allowed the construction of these plants in the first place.
In a memorandum dated March 6, Township staff said they cannot support the permits because an air quality impact assessment using air dispersion modelling has not been made available.
At the end of Monday evening’s meeting, council unanimously referred the delegations to staff for follow-up. Coun. Petrina Arnason also read a notice of motion asking the Township to correspond with the Fraser Health local drinking water officer on potential impacts to the potable water supply.
Ebco is holding a community information meeting on April 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at East Kensington Elementary, 2795 184 St. in Surrey. The meeting will provide a summary of their operations, information about the results of their technical studies and permit application, an overview of the Metro Vancouver permitting process and an opportunity to ask questions.
A similar meeting was held by Weir on April 4.
Residents can provide comments to Metro Vancouver for the Weir application until May 4 (email WeirCanadaComments@metrovancouver.org), and for the Ebco application until May 18 (email Ebcocomments@metrovancouver.org).