After completing a survey for the Capital Regional District on the preferred location of the biosolids energy centre, I feel I am being played by the CRD and the public relations firm who developed the materials.
The CRD misrepresents Viewfield Road as an industrial area with a ‘few’ residences nearby. The picture of Viewfield they show is a close-up, so most of what one sees is the proposed property and the sub-station behind it, not the surrounding residential neighbourhood. In reality, the property is very close to hundreds of homes, three large public schools, a church, non-industrial businesses etc.
Alternately, the CRD has a big graphic of a sewage plant in Kelowna surrounded by schools and homes – which were built later. What they fail to mention is that that plant sits on more than three times the land and services one third of the population.
The CRD website doesn’t mention its own report, which estimates property values within 500 metres of the biosolids centre could decrease by up to 25 per cent.
The CRD also has no comparative analysis of health impacts or a section to indicate health of nearby residents and students as a ranking criteria. The CRD has no analysis or ranking criteria for impact to air quality, even though its own environmental assessment for a biosolids centre at Hartland landfill indicated air quality impact to be ‘significant.’
There is also no criteria for safety, even though biosolids centres can catch fire, leak and explode. Alberta has laws requiring residences to be no closer than 300m. At Viewfield, the closest residence is 25 m away; at Hartland it’s 1.2 km.
The CRD misrepresented the Vic West/Esquimalt community surrounding this site and a lot of the criteria was based on the cons for Hartland – many negatives for Viewfield were not presented for consideration.
The survey is structured in such a way that even if Hartland is your preferred choice for the biosolids centre, the ranking criteria for the actual selection will result in Viewfield being the optimal choice.