'Hang on to your hats' a threat?

War of words erupts over proposed pellet plant in Chase

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
January 8, 2014 01:00 AM

The dispute about a proposed wood-pellet plant in Chase has turned into a war of words between one of the project's opponents and village councillor.

Coun. Rick Berrigan accuses Joseph Thibeault of threatening him during a Committee of the Whole meeting in Chase on Tuesday night.

Berrigan alleges Thibeault told council "you guys better hang on to your hats."

"That's a direct threat," Berrigan said Wednesday.

Thibeault has told councillors to hang onto their hats before, he said. And the group, which is represented by Jocelyn Nash, accused councillors of being negligent to the needs of the community.

"All we've done was a zoning issue. We don't even know if Pinnacle is coming here yet," he said.

"I passed a motion to zone industry in this community, and I will stand behind my motion."

Nash and Thibeault are a couple, and Thibeault is 70 years old. Nash said she can't see how he could threaten anyone.

"That's hogwash," said Nash.

As for Thibeault telling councillors to hang on to their hats?

"That's a threat?" That's not a threat. What is that? That's nonsense," she said.

She described the meeting as "testy," saying residents and village council and staff are at odds on the proposed $40-million project.

Berrigan said Nash and her group have crashed every Committee of the Whole meeting - which opens the floor to the public on any issue. He finds it disruptive.

Nash said her group would be at the next meeting, which is held the first Tuesday of every month.

She and dozens of residents are dismayed by village council's decision to rezone residential land on Aylmer Road to industrial so the Pinnacle Renewable Energy project can move forward.

There has been little movement on the wood-pellet plant since that meeting at the end of the November. Village staff maintains there is a chance the project won't proceed.

The plant is expected to generate a minimum of $75,000 in tax revenue and employ 25 people directly.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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