Metro Vancouver district director Ray Robb (standing) distributes binders to appellants including Bill Ridge (left), during Monday’s Environmental Appeal Board hearing. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Air-quality hearing resumes for South Surrey galvanizing plant

Metro Vancouver presenting its case this week in Guildford

The hearing contesting an air-quality permit issued for a South Surrey hot-dip galvanizing plant resumed at the Sheraton Vancouver Guildford Hotel this week, where the case for Metro Vancouver’s district director got underway before a panel of Environmental Appeal Board officials.

Scheduled for two weeks – this week and another in April – it continues proceedings that got underway last spring, initiated by area residents and non-profit groups concerned with the amount and nature of contaminants being emitted by the Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. facility, located in the 18500-block of 25 Avenue.

They’re seeking to have the permit cancelled.

Metro’s first witness was Dr. Katherine Preston, who is the lead senior engineer of the region’s environmental regulation enforcement division. Three other Metro staff – David Tiplady, Rob Kemp and Ray Robb – are also anticipated to give evidence; while four to five witnesses are expected to provide evidence on Ebco’s behalf, including chief operating officer Edwin Eppich, who is the nephew of Ebco founder Hugo Eppich.

READ MORE: Galvanizing-plant owner rejects criticisms over pollution

Much of Monday entailed having Preston review Metro’s process and procedures around issuing air-quality permits, however, the morning began with notice to the board by one of the appellants regarding a possible application for interim relief, pending results of a necropsy on a foal that died Saturday (Feb. 1).

“This is three out of four,” Frank Mueggenburg – whose property is located just south of the galvanizing plant – told the panel, referring to results of other recent mare pregnancies on his farm, one of which was cited during last year’s proceedings.

“This is rather upsetting. We’ve got all the experts that we know of to assist us” in determining the cause of the latest death.

READ MORE: Allegations of ‘undue dealings’ raise ire at air-quality hearing

Results of the mare’s blood-work reveals only that it “was a traumatic event,” Mueggenburg added.

Neither of the previous foal deaths cited have been conclusively linked to emissions from the Ebco facility, Mueggenburg later confirmed to Peace Arch News.

Impact of the emissions is at the centre of residents’ concerns with the facility. They first contacted PAN about it in early 2015, citing the proximity of such a plant to nearby East Kensington Elementary, as well as a lack of public notice around it.

Surrey city council approved a bylaw regulating the 25 Avenue site for “light impact industry” in November 2012, following a public hearing, and a development permit was issued in July 2014.

In May 2016, the EAB issued a stay of a short-term permit that had been granted Ebco by Metro Vancouver, citing concerns ranging from the potential adverse effect of emissions on human, animal and plant life, to the potential impact on a food-distribution society.

READ MORE: South Surrey galvanizing fumes halted

READ MORE: ‘This is our everything’: South Surrey farmer

Early 2018, however, Metro issued Ebco a 15-year permit to discharge contaminants including zinc, nickel and particulate matter.

Ebco officials have maintained that residents need not be concerned about pollution associated with the plant’s operations.

However, Carl Thielemann – who has operated an organic farm on 184 Street for the past 45 years – told PAN Monday that he and his wife remain extremely concerned, particularly for the health of children in the neighbourhood.

A second request by Mueggenburg Monday, for Ebco to produce records of complaints fielded in connection with operations that have continued since the hearing was adjourned last year – with an aim to looking at how weather patterns correlate to the complaints – was criticized by Ebco counsel Nicholas Hughes.

Hughes described the ask as “essentially a fishing expedition,” and asked the board to consider limiting it to dates on which Mueggenburg had complained of an odour from the facility, “as opposed to a visual observation.”

Metro Vancouver counsel Susan Rutherford suggested that air-quality testing also be done inside Mueggenburg’s barn.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Pollution and Air Quality

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Another death as COVID-19 outbreak at Delta Hospital climbs to 18 cases

Total of 12 patients and six staff in one unit have tested positive for COVID-19: Fraser Health

Telethon promotes Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID response funding

Entrepreneur Manjit Lit gifts Surrey Hospital Foundation, challenges others to join him

Stanley Cup win for Surrey-based NHL scout who coached in North Delta

Grant Armstrong is among 11 WHL alumni currently with Tampa Bay Lightning

CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of Sept. 27

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Wubs family donation buys priority equipment for Delta Hospital

Founder of Westland Insurance’s gift of $140,732 funding new gear for surgical services department

105 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death as health officials urge B.C. to remember safety protocols

There are currently 1268 active cases, with 3,337 people under public health monitoring

U.S. Presidential Debate Takeaways: An acrid tone from the opening minute

Here are key takeaways from the first of three scheduled presidential debates before Election Day on Nov. 3

B.C. nurses report rise in depression, anxiety, exhaustion due to pandemic

A new UBC study looks into how the COVID-19 response has impacted frontline nurses

National child-care plan could help Canada rebound from COVID-induced economic crisis: prof

A $2 billion investment this year could help parents during second wave of pandemic

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Search suspended for Indigenous elder last seen mushroom picking in northwest B.C.

Mushroom picker Thomas (Tommy) Dennis has been missing since Sept. 16

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

‘Bonnie’ and ‘Henry’ among latest litter of service dog puppies

B.C. Alberta Guide Dogs names two pups after provincial health officer

B.C. VOTES 2020: Few solutions offered for ‘out of control’ camping

B.C. Liberals, NDP spend millions as problem keeps growing

Most Read