Inside the Ebco hot dip galvanizing plant, during an April 2016 tour. A South Surrey advocacy group is appealing an air-quality permit issued to Ebco. (File photo)

Environmental Appeal Board to hear South Surrey emission concerns

Advocacy group opposing Ebco air-quality permit

A South Surrey advocacy group fighting Metro Vancouver over an air-quality permit issued to a metal-finishing plant in Campbell Heights is appealing for financial support to fund its efforts.

South Surrey Clean Air and Water, in an email shared by Friends of Hazelmere Campbell Valley, says donations will help fund expert witnesses to testify at an April hearing before the Environmental Appeal Board.

The discharge of harmful emmissions by Ebco Metal Finishing LLP is the issue, the email states.

“South Surrey Clean Air and Water believes that the Air Quality Permits issued by Metro Vancouver do not protect human health or the natural environment.”

A permit to discharge air contaminants from Ebco’s hot dip zinc galvanizing facility, at 18699 25 Ave., was issued to the company a year ago, effective until Feb. 28, 2033.

Area residents first contacted Peace Arch News about the plant in early 2015, citing concerns with such a facility being built so close to East Kensington Elementary, as well as with the lack of public notice around it.

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

Residents in December 2015 described estimated emissions from the plant – six tonnes per year – as “frightening… a major concern for the community.”

READ MORE: Any emissions are too many: galvanizing plant neighbours

Ebco officials rejected the criticisms as “scare tactics,” maintaining that the company was “conforming to all the laws.”

Metro Vancouver officials described the proposed emissions as “not a particularly large amount.”

The volunteer-driven South Surrey Clean and Water group, however, says they believe the permits issued “do not protect human health or the natural environment.”

Both Ebco and a second industrial plant in the Campbell Heights neighbourhood are located on top of the Brookswood aquifer, the group notes. As well, there are concerns with impacts to the Erikson and Twin Creeks tributaries, local organic farms and livestock, as well as a planned private school.

READ MORE: New Catholic school opens temporary space in White Rock

According to the advocacy group, one of three rulings will result from the EAB hearing: the permits will be upheld with no change; the permits will be revoked, “shutting down this type of industry in this location”; or, capital investment will be required to establish measures and procedures that eliminate toxic air emissions.

According to the EAB oral-hearing schedule, the Ebco matter is set to be heard April 15-18, 23-26 and 29-30 at the Sheraton Guildford Hotel in Surrey. Appellants listed include Little Campbell Watershed Society, Catholic Independent Schools Vancouver, Semiahmoo Fish & Game Club, Inga and Carl Thielemann and Frank Mueggenburg.

For more information, email sscleanairandwater@gmail.com

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Approximately 100 people attended a public information and feedback session at East Kensington Elementary for Ebco Metal Finishing’s hot-dip galvanizing plant. (File photo)

Ebco Metal Finishing Ltd. founder Hugo Eppich stands by the hot-dip kettle at his South Surrey galvanizing plant during an April 2016 tour of the facility. (File photo)

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