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Finger pointed at industry

Residents in Lavington worried about air quality due to the Pinnacle pellet plant complain that noise and light pollution are problems, too.

“This is noise that is being generated by Tolko and Pinnacle,” said Stephanie Hoffman, spokesperson for Lavington LIFE, in a presentation to Coldstream council on Monday. “Under the current noise bylaw, there should be no exceptions for this disruption during the evening hours.”

The pellet plant was built near Tolko's planer mill.

“The lighting was an issue brought up by our previous delegation (to council), for which we have had no follow up or relief provided,” Hoffman said.

Another member of the delegation said large piles of sawdust are also left uncovered outside the pellet plant.

In an interview Tuesday, Hoffman complained of unnecessary lighting at Tolko during the evenings, including open face floodlights, and noise that left her waking up at 2 a.m.

"Why is industrial activity not regulated within the bylaws as written?" asked Hoffman. "I want council to respect our concerns and not just brush us off." 

For months, the group has demanded action from the District of Coldstream, claiming there is no scientific evidence of air quality improvement since the opening of the pellet plant last September, despite private testing by the company.

A report by McCall Environment released in December showed air emissions 83.1 per cent below previously permitted levels.

Still, residents have complained of a strong odour from Pinnacle during inversion or stagnant air conditions, greater light pollution and continuing noise concerns.

"We are working on those issues. Trying to pinpoint them has been challenging," said Trevor Seibel, chief administrative officer for the District of Coldstream.

Council has ordered staff to look into the issues, including the bright night lighting and overnight noise, said Seibel.

Three members of the group are appealing Pinnacle's air discharge permit. A hearing before the environmental appeal board is scheduled for next month.

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