Open letter to West Coast Environmental Law,
I am writing to you about an issue I have worried over for some time - the dilapidation of a very old building in Steveston, ignored and now sliding into the Fraser River.
I do not know specifically the environmental impact of the roof and sidings of this old building now in the Fraser River. However, I imagine creosote and many other hazardous chemicals could be leeching into the Fraser River as the building erodes.
I had understood that asbestos was still contained in the building, but have been told that this is not the case. I have seen no testing done on the waters, and nothing is being done to contain the building, whatsoever.
There have been newspaper articles in both local papers on the subject. The city is now concerned because the roof is collapsing, while there are items stored within the building that belong to Gateway Theatre. I have complained in the past about the safety of doing this.
The building is wire fenced, but I have seen people using the sliding and decomposing walkway from the river to the shore. However, I am most concerned about the building itself contaminating the waters there.
The building is at the south foot of Railway Avenue at Westwater. It is unmistakable as the roof is now in the water, the entire building boarded because it is determined to be a heritage building, yet no upkeep has been done in probably 100 years.
It does have history, having been the gigantic storage and sorting facility of nets of the fishing industry now sadly unused for so long. I'm appealing to West Coast Environmental Law to observe or test the waters here.
My understanding is that city staff have recommended the building be demolished as repair is impossible now, but the councillors will be faced with a heritage question, and will be reluctant to take any action unless they are forced to because of health risks or environmental damage.
My view is the latter, and that the delicate fishery is endangered by the rot of this facility. I have attached a few pictures, now a year old, the destruction more evident today.
I have been trying to advise the city something must be done, but I'm afraid my letters have fallen on deaf ears. With your expertise, no excuse can be made
I am sincerely hopeful you may find this worthy of investigation.