The comment deadline for those concerned about possible environmental impacts of a biofuel facility proposed for Semiahmoo First Nation land has been extended by a month, and at least one area resident is hoping people take advantage of the additional time offered to weigh in.
Amanda Milford said Tuesday (Sept. 5) that she is spreading word of the updated Oct. 2 cutoff among her neighbours, through work channels and on social media in an effort to boost awareness of the project.
“It’s like it’s flying under the radar,” said Milford, who learned about the endeavour last week through Peace Arch News.
“I just think we need to get more word out, and repeatedly. The only way this is going to be stopped is if the community gathers as a whole.”
The “anaerobic digestion facility” being considered – in partnership with Andion Global – came to the local public’s attention following a June 27 announcement by Natural Resources Canada of $14.4 million in federal support for it.
It is proposed 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) and Natural Resources Canada invited public comments as part of its review to determine whether it is likely to cause “significant adverse environmental effects.”
According to information on Andion Global’s website, the facility will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and leave existing waterways undisturbed. As well, there will be “little to no” noise, odour would be controlled by air-management systems that ensure it is contained and processed within the building, and any disruption by traffic to and from the site – expected to average 20 trucks per day – would be minimized through scheduling and routing.
The project would “look like a light industrial facility,” in colours that “integrate with the vegetation,” the site continues. There is also a budget for an art project, possibly a large mural.
Construction is hoped to get underway early next year, and finish by early 2026, the site adds, however, the timing “is dependent on a number of factors, including financing and federal, provincial, regional permitting.”
Milford, who works in real estate, said she is not opposed to the facility itself, but rather the proposed location for it. The potential smell, noise and traffic is better-suited for an industrial neighbourhood, she said.
“The fact that it would be in a residential area, that’s beyond me,” she said.
She also believes, given the planned project’s proximity to the Little Campbell River and tributaries including McNally Creek, that the environmental impact would be “tremendous,” and has asked Indigenous Services Canada to reject it.
Other residents who contacted PAN also cited concerns with the timeline for input, sharing emails requesting that the ISC extend the comment deadline to allow for proper analysis of the proposal.
In addition to the extension, one response from an ISC official notes any desire by the SFN or Andion to further engage with the public “is certainly encouraged.”
Comments may be sent to Lee-Ann.Hamilton@sac-isc.gc.ca