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Questions raised about compost info

Residents of Port Coquitlam received a flyer on their doorstep slamming a proposed compost facility.  -
Residents of Port Coquitlam received a flyer on their doorstep slamming a proposed compost facility.
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A brochure being distributed to homes across Port Coquitlam slamming a compost facility proposed for land next to the Mary Hill Bypass contains inaccuracies and is likely the work of a rival corporation, said the facility’s operator.

And the city wants to get the word out that the proposal is still a long way from becoming reality.

In a press release Tuesday, PoCo city administrator Tony Chong said the municipality, the region, the province and the federal government all have stringent criteria for waste-processing facilities and Cascade Renewable Carbon Corp. will have to meet those requirements before it could gain city approval and begin operations.

And Jerry Salberg, owner of Cascade, which is proposing to build the facility, said whoever is distributing the four-page glossy pamphlet has a lot of money behind its campaign and is likely not associated with a grassroots group.

The brochure states that it is from the “Coalition for an Environmentally Friendly Port Coquitlam” but neither the city nor several prominent environmentalists in the Tri-Cities have heard of the organization and no contact information is provided on the document.

“It is somewhat incomprehensible to me that someone would take this kind of tactic,” Salberg said. “It is a phantom coalition.”

The pamphlet inaccurately states, among other things, that Cascade has not complied with permit requirements or the city’s public consultation process. It also alleges that the company’s technology will harm sensitive wetlands by leaching into the ground water.

In fact, Salberg said the compost materials that the facility would process would not touch the ground and would be kept in a state-of-the-art container facility to be operated by a B.C.-based company.

“The reality is that this is a well thought-out plan,” Salberg said. “The technology is raising the bar and this is going to be a showcase compost facility.”

The project is currently working its way through Port Coquitlam’s building permit process and will have to go before Metro Vancouver for consideration for another permit application.

City of Port Coqutilam staffers also have some concerns with the misinformation being spread around the community.

PoCo’s Chong said the city has made attempts to identify the group responsible for distributing the brochure but have been unsuccessful.

“What is this coalition and does it genuinely represent the interests of Port Coquitlam residents?” he asked in a press release. “Port Coquitlam’s council and staff are always receptive to hear the concerns of residents. The fact that this coalition never made its existence known during public discussion of this project and continues to remain anonymous raises questions as to its purpose.”

Chong said the municipality, the region, the province and the federal government all have stringent criteria for waste-processing facilities and Cascade will have to meet those requirements before it can begin its operations.

The city has been tracking the distribution of the flyer, which first popped up in the Citadel Heights neighbourhood over the weekend. Residents reported that it later spread through Mary Hill and started popping up on the doorsteps of homes on the city’s north side.

It has not been distributed through Canada Post and its origin is so far untraceable.

“It is shocking and unbelievable how disgraceful it is,” said PoCo Mayor Greg Moore. “It shows a lack of respect for our local government and our residents.”

• For more information about the proponent and its compost facility, go to www.cascadecorp.ca. The city of Port Coquitlam has also provided information at www.portcoquitlam.ca/compostplant.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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