Concerned about biosolids

Most are unaware of what the City of Penticton and the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen have been plotting.

The regional district bought 80 acres of farmland at 1313 Greyback Mountain Road for a composting and biosolids facility. It applied to the Agricultural Land Commission (ALC) to remove 55 acres from the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR).

The ALC denied the application, the RDOS appealed and the ALC denied the appeal.

After this failure, the city and the regional district came up with a new plan. Why not rezone the non-ALR part (25 acres)? It is currently zoned as a resource area but resource area site specific would get it what it wants.

On Sept 26, the RDOS announced a public meeting for Oct 4 about the construction of an organics composting facility at 1313 Greyback Mountain Road in Penticton, adjacent to the Campbell Mountain Landfill. The RDOS is seeking to rezone the property in order to permit the construction of an organics composting facility at the site.

If permitted, the rezoning would allow a composting operation in Phase 1 and a biosolids (sewage sludge) facility in Phase 2 on the ALC land. As of writing this letter, the RDOS has not submitted an application to the ALC.

There is nothing “sustainable” about spreading biosolids on land where we grow food. In addition to some nutrients, this contaminated mixture contains persistent pollutants that accumulate in soil until the land can no longer grow most crops. The worst thing about Phase 1 is it will lead to Phase 2.

Both scenarios would vastly increase trucking through Penticton (school zones and playgrounds included) along Upper Bench Road or Vancouver Avenue and up Reservoir Road. The latter of which is already remarkably busy. There are line-ups at landfill already, stopping traffic going up past it.

The additional trucks would come from Penticton, Keremeos and Electoral Areas B, D, E, F, G, and I, a huge area.

(The property in question) is the calving grounds for our Greyback Elk herd, is home to California Bighorn sheep and the endangered Northern Pacific rattlesnake. It is directly east of the landfill, which is in view of anyone looking up past Munson Mountain.

The Campbell Mountain Trail Network is immensely popular with many people who hike, bike or walk dogs there. Frequently, the parking lot at Spiller and Reservoir Roads is full and overflow vehicles line the roads on either side. Children and adults go on foot into the Campbell Mountain area for events and recreation.

The proposed facilities, across from the parking lot, pose a very real potential for large trucks to encounter pedestrians on that rural road, which is a frightful thought.

Attend the public hearing on Oct 5 at 7 p.m at the Penticton Seniors’ Drop-in Centre (Ken Wignes Room) at 2965 South Main Street in Penticton.

Also, attend the public information session, on Oct 4 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Uplands Elementary School, 145 Middle Bench Road in Penticton.

Please sigh the petition here.

Jacquie Jackson, Penticton

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