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Industry to consult in Port Moody, if they want

Port Moody Coun. Zoe Royer is concerned the city
Port Moody Coun. Zoe Royer is concerned the city's new industrial baseline activity bylaw doesn't require consultation with local residents.
— image credit: FILE PHOTO/TRI-CITY NEWS

Port Moody has adopted a policy that will seek "voluntary consultation" from its heavy industries when they increase or change the types of goods they're handling.

But it's a move that changes little, said Coun. Zoe Royer, who introduced the motion in March.

"It's essentially taking my motion and dumbing it down...so nothing, in my opinion, has changed," she said.

The policy was adopted at a May 22 in-camera session and released as part of Tuesday's regular council meeting. Royer asked that one of the three council members who approved the policy amend the motion to say that industrial users should consult Port Moody residents, but none volunteered.

The original motion put forward by Royer called for the five Class 5 heavy industrial users in Port Moody to be required to conduct "extensive and meaningful consultation" with the city's residents, environmental groups and council prior to any significant change in the type or volume of goods being shipped.

Royer said the watered-down motion means industries can continue to simply post notice of any changes, no matter how hazardous it may be.

"The residents, the businesses, the stewardship groups — everyone is a stakeholder in the future of Port Moody," Royer said. "It may not benefit industry to seek public engagement because it may cause them to rethink or reshape some of the changes they want to make, but I don't think that's a bad thing."

She questioned why there should be greater restrictions placed on a small business wanting to add a patio than on heavy industry adding the shipment of fossil fuels to its services.

Royer also questioned why the decision was made behind closed doors. Issues related to land, legal or personnel matters are made during in-camera meetings; Royer contends that much of the discussion on her baseline industrial activity bylaw could have happened during an open council meeting.

"Council hides behind this veil of closed doors, so the councillors who voted in favour of this never have to have the courage of their convictions."

Later in the meeting, Coun. Rick Glumac issued a notice of motion on a similar issue.

He wants to see a resolution go to the 2012 Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention that would see the provincial government implement requirements ensuring that residents living close to rail lines are "fully informed" about dangerous goods being transported near their homes.

"There is something missing in provincial legislation in regards to consultation with communities regarding hazardous goods being transported by rail through urban areas," Glumac said in an interview.

He acknowledged that the city has no authority to restrict the goods being shipped by rail through Port Moody, which is why he wants to see the resolution go to the UBCM for provincial consideration.

"This is a democratic society and we have a right to know what's happening in our back yards," he added.

Glumac also issued a notice of motion that Port Moody oppose the building of the Enbridge Pipeline, which would transport oil from the Alberta tar sands to tankers in Kitimat.

The two motions will be discussed at the June 26 council meeting.

 

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