Citizens have a say as well

In a recent column on the Forceman Ridge landfill project, Brad North spoke of a “self focus group” ...

Dear Sir,

Re: Guest Column “Why Should We Pay Twice For Landfill Study – Brad North March 21, 2013

Can Brad North clarify who this “self- focus group in the Lakesle Lake area” is who as he states : “wants all of the studies and related spending to start up again, just to put it in someone else’s backyard ?”

And where did this so called self- focus group say that they wanted “the majority of taxpayers of the RDKS” to pay another $800,000 to study the Forceman Ridge proposal ?

Let’s get clear on this. The public did not spend the $800,000 on engineers and consultants. In fact the public had no direct say in the Regional District’s key decision making and land use planning when this landfill was decided by a regional district appointed committee 17 years ago.

Instead of allowing the practicality and wisdom of the public to guide their decision making, the public was completely shut out. The only two Regional District sponsored public Open Houses to date rank extremely low on the ladder of effective public participation. Brad North finds comfort though in a “worst case scenario model” that the public hasn’t seen. He and the RD administration and the RD Board continue to look to the experts to adjudicate a very bad siting decision made long ago, and they continue to push forward this landfill proposal at any cost.

I say enough. Here’s what is missing : No studies to date have taken into account the cumulative impacts of increased industrial activity occurring and planned for the Lakelse Lake watershed, this landfill included. I don’t believe that the RD’s consultants and the Ministry Of The Environment can qualify Brad North’s statement that” the site will have no detectable impact on the environment”. Ministry approvals are not the same thing as public accountability.

What I do know is that a lot of volunteering individual and unpaid citizens have lobbied to have a look at the proposal and have done due diligence over the last couple of years and continue to do so. They have studied the documentation provided by the RD and the Ministry of Environment, and have asked the tough questions that the decision makers don’t like.

There is nothing wrong with the motivation of ordinary people in bringing up the serious concerns that they have with this proposal. Insulting them, and trying to portray them as a selfish group is completely made up.

Sincerely,

Leslie Rowlands

Prince Rupert, B.C.