Northwest BC landfill site needs more study

There's lots wrong with Forceman Ridge located south of Terrace, BC

An open letter to the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Terrace city council and the Ministry of the Environment:

Dear Sirs:

Oct. 19 2012, RAfaSIE (Residents Advocating for a Sustainable Inclusive Environment) made a presentation to the Regional District of Kitimat- Stikine board.

The focus of the presentation was on the community’s view of the local governments lack of public engagement on local waste management issues.

On Nov. 14, 2012, RAfaSIE presented a plea to Terrace city council to clarify some concerns about the planned closure of the Terrace landfill and the decision to relocate waste management to the Forceman Ridge site just south of Onion Lake.

The focus then was to identify if there was any sound reasoning for the Terrace Dump closure and if there was any merit in maintaining waste management on that site. Terrace Sustainability Officer Tara Irwin claims that the wetlands remediation at the Terrace dump is resulting in safe discharge at the spill out of the treatment pound at the Terrace Landfill Site so there is no apparent risk to the Kalum River, which was noted as an item of concern to the Ministry of Environment.

Continued world-class fishing on the Kalum would support that fishing is not adversely impacted by the landfill.

As far as the public can see there is no reason to close the Terrace dump as the many hectare site appears to be highly underutilized especially considering new technology which is planned for the Forceman Ridge site and could just as easily be placed on the Terrace dump site in its self containment mode.

With more than 70 per cent of waste in the area originating from the Terrace municipal area it would seem environmentally unsound to truck

waste a distance that is more than 30 kms out of town.

Based on the increased traffic on Highway 37 the Forceman Ridge location will more than create traffic hazards and safety concerns on that already congested corridor.

In addition it has been proven that the Forceman Ridge site is a natural pathway for a large group of carnivores that migrate from Chist Creek to the Lakelse River which contradicts the study completed for the regional district that indicates the only impact on local wildlife is to goshawks.

It appears that the studies completed on the Forceman Ridge site are either inaccurate or incomplete and that little to no professional studies or reviews have been completed to access whether the original Terrace dump site can be better utilized.

Our collective community group of 1,000 believes the site is not near its capacity and the appetite to retain the site as a fenced in “brown field site” which will require ongoing remediation does not add value to closing it.

RAfaSIE requests that the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine, Terrace City Council and the Ministry of the Environment postpone any further development of the Forceman Ridge site until an independent review be completed to answer the following questions:

1. Can the Terrace landfill site remain open and operational based on today’s technology?

2. What additional costs are there to the taxpayer if the Terrace dump closes based on preplanned alternatives at Forceman Ridge?

3. The choice of closing the Terrace site to open the Forceman Site will impact on the local environment and the habitat of all the wildlife that currently naturally live there which contradicts the study completed by the regional district so will the regional district conduct an independent review of impact to wildlife and habitat?

4. If the containment plans proposed at Forceman Ridge are deemed to be safe to the environment than why would they not be safe to be placed on the Terrace landfill site where a natural clay base would provide additional backup safety?

5. Why would the Ministry of the Environment support placing a landfill site in the middle of a provincially recognized recreational area, when they can provide waste management on an already well-established site at the Terrace landfill which is destined to never be more than a fenced in brown field site regardless of closure?

6. Are the Ministry of the Environment and local governments not in violation of their own required commitment to reduce carbon emissions by supporting a plan for long distance trucking of waste garbage to the Forceman Ridge Site instead of retaining current trucking within the municipality to the local Landfill sites?

7. Is it possible that the best choice for waste management as of 2012 in the greater Terrace area is not Forceman Ridge with a transfer site at the Thornhill landfill but rather one upgraded site on the parcel of land known as the Terrace dump (landfill site)?

RAfaSIE on behalf of the growing body of concerned citizens recognizes that the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine has spent some $800,000 on studies to convince the community that Forceman Ridge is the best choice.

Just as Kitimat – originally a planned participant in the Forceman Ridge landfill has rethought the merit of this plan and has withdrawn its support – so to do more and more of the local population.

We look forward to your thoughtful response.

Diana Penner,

Chair,

RAfaSIE (Residents Advocating for a Sustainable Inclusive Environment)