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Townsite group concerned over wastewater treatment plant

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POWELL RIVER, B.C.- A new wastewater treatment plant has been in the works for the city of Powell River for many years, but one local group is worried about its proposed location.

A fixed location has not been set for the $30-million plant, but it has been suggested to build it in the Townsite area, on the old golf course lands below Larch Avenue and Laburnum Avenue.

“The chief concerns that we have are environmental and social. To put a waste treatment centre within a hundred metres of residences uphill is going to cause all kinds of smell and odours to waft up,” said Will Van Delft, chair of the Townsite Ratepayers Association.

“Not to mention the visual impacts of having aeration ponds and a facility like that right outside your front window.”

The plant will take care of sewage from the Tla’amin Nation, Wildwood, Westview and Townsite.

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Van Delft said there are also concerns about the proposed conveyance pipeline being built in from Westview and along Willingdon Beach Trail to the facility.

“Putting a waste pipeline through a park, which has Indigenous artifacts in it, as well as putting it through a forest, which council spent millions of dollars to protect, it just shouldn’t happen,” he said.

“They’re going to damage the trees, there’s water flowing through that park. There’s an alternate site along Marine Highway that is easily accessible by maintenance vehicles and it’s just a much better place to put a waste pipeline.”

He noted that Willingdon Beach is the “preeminent park in downtown Powell River” and putting a waste pipeline through that could risk damaging its natural beauty.

“The chief proposal that we are making (to council and staff) is that we want to be involved in the decision-making, we want to be able to be at the table to recommend the changes that make it appropriate for Townsite residents.”

Van Delft said he has attended many council meetings over the past few months, and will continue to do so to further the Ratepayers Association’s cause.

“We are also very much in favour of promoting the Townsite centre as a cultural and social centre in Powell River.” The area will host the Townsite Jazz Festival from April 5th to 7th, 2018.

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