Enviro-Smart hearing set to resume in late October

The Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) hearing into the Air Quality Permit (AQP) issued to the GFL/Enviro-Smart East Ladner composting facility will resume in late October in Richmond.

The hearing will run from Oct. 28 to Nov. 1, Nov. 4 to 8 and Nov. 12 to 15 starting at 9 a.m. each day at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel.

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The EAB registrar said the hearing was moved to the Richmond because of availability of the venue.

“Costs are also a factor. We do have to be mindful of the taxpayers of the province and we do the best we can to minimize our costs, but the original hotel did not have the availability,” said the registrar.

The hearing wrapped up its scheduled dates on June 28 following 15 days of testimony and cross-examination of GFL/Enviro-Smart witnesses and resident appellants at the Coast Tsawwassen Inn.

A total of 13 resident appellants submitted evidence showing how Enviro-Smart, along with the City of Delta and Metro Vancouver dragged out the process for an AQP for longer than five years. The residents also presented evidence from the World Health Organization showing the right of every citizen to breathe clean air. 

GFL lawyer Gary Letcher presented numerous witnesses during 11 days of testimony trying to prove to the panel that the hundreds of complaints made by residents are not based on scientific evidence and that the residents themselves are not experts in determining whether or not the foul odours were in fact coming from GFL or other farming operations in South Delta.

Letcher said the AQP is too restrictive, requires too many records and costly reports, and that GFL should be recognized for its role in building its new $37-million enclosed facility.

Residents, on the other hand, want to see a stricter permit with better reporting and enforcement, no tonnage increases, better preservation of farm land, safer farm roads, and tighter monitoring of leachate that could be escaping from the facility.

Meanwhile, GFL says construction is underway and on track for the enclosed facility.

“Concrete footings and foundations are being formed and poured and tenders for building, equipment, mechanical and electrical supplier contracts have been awarded,” said GFL spokesperson Jennifer Ahluwalia. “The compost building will be the first fully enclosed agitated, aerated in-vessel channel composting system in British Columbia. The facility will contain all composting functions indoors from delivery to final material screening.” Originally estimated at a cost of $20 million, the final costs of completing the facility will be approximately $37 million, she said.

“The compost building is designed to achieve 12 air exchanges per hour and all air collected in the building is treated by an advanced biofilter odour control system,” she said.

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