When it comes to the handling of controversial projects, the Village of Chase should be commended, even if it is following the law.
The village is in the midst of consultation on a $40-million pellet plant project proposed by
Pinnacle Renewable Energy Group out of Prince George. The plant would be constructed on a vacant piece of land on Aylmer Road near the village’s downtown. The property, although previously designated industrial, was rezoned residential a time ago.
In order to revert the land back to industrial, village staff must, according to the community charter, consult with outside agencies that have an interest in significant changes to the official community plan.
Administrators have sent out referrals to eight groups, including three area First Nations,
Interior Health, the Ministry of Education, Chase Fire and Rescue, Interior Health and the
Kamloops-Thompson School District.
The project has already divided the community, with village administrator Larry Randle saying the town is split about 50-50 on the matter. There are some who fear noise, dust and other pollution that could come with a project like this.
Others, including Adams Lake Indian Band Chief Nelson Leon, see the potential for economic growth that would accompany a major employer like Pinnacle.
Input is due back at the end of the month and, although none of the agencies mentioned above have a final say in the project, their comments will be taken into consideration.
This is an amazing level of consultation and includes a mix of groups that, at least, on the surface, reflect a wide spectrum of concerns from the environment to the welfare of school children.
One could only hope the same level of input would be sought on all controversial industrial projects, including over a certain gorilla in the room in Kamloops. If it were, maybe the public would feel like its concerns are being addressed.
Granted, rules are different at the municipal, provincial and national levels. But whatever the reason, it feels like due diligence is being done on the Pinnacle pellet plant.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by publisher Tim Shoults, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.