A meeting to discuss strategies around blocking a biofuel facility proposed for Semiahmoo First Nation land is set for Wednesday evening (Sept. 27) in South Surrey, at The Hills at Peace Portal Golf Course.
“It’s the community that is concerned about the proposed facility coming together to plan a collective voice to oppose the facility,” organizer Amanda Milford, an area resident, said Monday.
“We need to… do everything we can.”
The facility is proposed – in partnership with Andion Global – for four acres of SFN land adjacent to Highway 99, approximately one kilometre north of the Canada-U.S. border and 40 metres back from the highway itself.
Indigenous Services Canada (ISC), Natural Resources Canada and Canada Infrastructure Bank have invited public comments as part of its review to determine whether it is likely to cause “significant adverse environmental effects.” The deadline to comment has been extended a number of times. As of Monday (Sept. 25), it remained set to close on Oct. 14.
While the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada site initially offered a brief explanation regarding the call for comments – stating they were needed to help determine if the facility is “likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects” – additional information was added to the webpage within the last week, including that environmental consultants are already working on components such as wildlife, Species at Risk, air quality, wastewater and odour.
“They must provide an analysis of anticipated impacts, and consider several factors such as adjacent communities when conducting their analysis,” it states.
On Thursday (Sept. 21), an Environmental Protection Notice advising of SFN’s application to Metro Vancouver for an air quality permit was in Peace Arch News, detailing anticipated emissions from air contaminants including methane (35.8 tonnes per year), hydrogen sulphide (0.108 tonnes per year) and volatile organic compounds (0.78 tonnes per year).
Milford – noting she has read research that links exposure to such emissions with health issues including respiratory infections and nausea – is adamant that the facility should not be located in a residential area. A petition opposing its construction suggests she is not alone. Posted to change.org, it names traffic, environment and health as among a half-dozen concerns. So far, it has garnered more than 900 signatures.
Wednesday’s meeting is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. The Hills at Peace Portal is located at 16900 4 Ave.