Sunday, March 29, 2015


Catch Our Drift

Newly-formed group shows deep concern over Aevitas plant

By Wendy Major, COC, /Handout photos


Wendy Major the proposed Aevitas plant to be relocated away from the Fraser River.


unday, March 22nd, the Chilliwack chapter of Council of Canadians hosted their debut event, partnering with the WaterWealth Project to celebrate World Water Day 2015 with guest speakers highlighting important local freshwater issues.


Guests spoke of the need to protect the Fraser River from avoidable toxic damage, that many in the community fear may result from a proposed Aevitas toxic waste recycling facility approximately 150 metres from the banks of the Fraser River. 


The need to consider responsibilities to residents of the community as well as future generations and also continued abundant, healthy Salmon and other fish species was a common thread.

Speakers included¨ Grand Chief Kat Pennier, UFV resident elder and wild salmon advocate Eddie Gardner, WaterWealth associate and former Soowahlie Chief Larry Commodore. Local artist Carrielynn Victor spoke and performed her song "Water War!", inviting those in attendance to sing along.


WaterWealth Campaign Director Ian Stephen pointed out that the proposed hazardous waste facility is in an area identified as high risk for earthquake and that also within the high risk zone is the Lajoie Dam, an earthen dam built in the 1950's which BC Hydro has identified as in need of seismic upgrades.


Reports indicate that were the Lajoie Dam to fail, flood waters exceeding the 10,000 year flood event would reach the Aevitas site within hours. This could be a more terrible disaster than Mt. Polley, even reaching the Lower Fraser River.  Stephen suggested a heavy industrial property away from the Fraser in Surrey as a safer alternative for the Aevitas facility.

Ian Stephen, Director of WaterWealth Project, recently delved into mysterious black ooze from logs along the River. The substance was determined to be leechate.


Fernando Selles, a retired PhD Soil Scientist and President of Chilliwack Field Naturalists mentioned that he grew up in Chile, which is also a country that has experienced some of the strongest earthquakes registered on the planet during the last 100 years.  He maintained that even the best engineering couldn't solve the problem, in fact it can make the situation worse.


Selles pointed out on a diagram how the proposed Aevitas hazardous waste management facility is right in an area classified as high liquefaction risk by the British Columbia Geologic Survey.


A march to the proposed Aevitas site itself followed. Events concluded with a "Know Your Home Waters" walk led by Selles and Stephen alongside the Bert Brink Wildlife Management Area to the Fraser River with discussion around wildlife found in the area and the value of wetlands in provision of ecosystem services to communities.



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