Friday, January 2, 2015

Local News

'Will Build to Suit'

AirCare closes ten testing facilities

Staff/Voice photos


AirCare was slow on Wednesday, the last day of operations in Chilliwack and the Lower Mainland.


hilliwack AirCare employees watched as the clock ticked down on their final few hours of employment Wednesday.


On Thursday, twenty non-union and twelve government staff at the Airport Rd. facility will be hitting the bricks as the sun sets on the provincial government's AirCare emissions testing program in the Lower Mainland.


“Envirotest Canada, the contractor for the program, has about 110 unionized and 20 non unionized employees and the government oversight office has 12. All of us will lose our jobs, most Wednesday after work and the rest after decommissioning in February,” said Envirotest Canada General Manager Ed Theobold in an email to The Voice last week.


“Locally (in Chilliwack) about 6 employees will lose their jobs. Chilliwack is the smallest of the ten sites. “


Last year in May, Environment Minister Terry Lake announced the BC government would be phasing out emissions testing January 1, 2015 as more and more vehicles run cleaner.


Theobold calls it the end of an era in the Lower Fraser Valley. 


“A revenue-neutral and user-pay program that helped maintain air quality for the past 22 years by holding individual motorists accountable for the emissions that their vehicles produced is going away. One thing we did learn is that most people won't maintain their vehicle's emissions systems without being forced to do so,” he said.


The Environment Ministry has estimated the since AirCare's inception in 1992, 20,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions have been taken out of the Fraser Valley airshed annually.


“The AirCare stations will be shut down and will cease operating (After January 1) and the equipment will be removed from the stations during the month of January and the properties, as they are leased, will return to the possession of the property management company,” said Rashpal Rai, APR Manager, Public Relations, Envirotest Canada.


“The BC Government has indicated that there will be no emissions inspection programs for light-duty vehicles in the future,” he added.


The AirCare program will now focus entirely on diesel-powered trucks and buses.


According to one employee, who didn't want to be quoted, they won’t find themselves being placed elsewhere. But some have leads on jobs.


There wasn't anything special going on. No farewell party. The boss did bring down pizza.


As for vehicles, well, the beaters are back.


Those interested in leasing the building can see the specs on The Beedie Group website.


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