Letter: Hearing delay stinks

Dear Editor,

It has been a year since a number of concerned Richmond residents submitted a formal appeal request to the Environmental Appeal Board regarding a permit issued by Metro Vancouver to Harvest Power, allowing the company to pollute the air.

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I believe our common goal was to do whatever we could to end the unbearable stench that Harvest was emitting from the composting and energy creating facility. We compiled our applications, submitted the fee and made the deadline in October of 2016.  Harvest Power also submitted an appeal request. The City of Richmond also decided to appeal, albeit after the deadline.

We have just received information from the Environmental Appeal Board that oral meetings with the board have been scheduled for Sept. 4 through Sept. 28, 2018 for all those people who are appealing this permit. Granted, we will have to wait another year, but I understand due-process, and our voices will be heard.

Now, we are faced with a possible setback by the City of Richmond. Their legal council is requesting a postponement of the hearing until the spring of 2019. The reason is because their lawyer will be out of the country, and they feel there is no urgency to proceed with the hearing. Meanwhile, the temporary permit Harvest has right now will run out in April of 2020.

Seriously, do they expect us to believe this? I have heard better excuses from a school kid who didn’t do his homework; “Oh, sorry Teach, I went to Mars on Google Earth this weekend and left my books at home.”

In reality you would think that Mayor Brodie would want to resolve this issue that has negatively affected the quality of life for his constituents and his city, especially after being named number one stinkiest place in the Lower Mainland because of complaints over Harvest Power.

It might be possible that Mayor Brodie has his own priority’s, like winning his seat in the upcoming election on Oct. 20, 2018. In my opinion delaying this appeal process will only hurt his chances of being re-elected.

Burke Austin

Founder, Stop the Stink in Richmond

(Note: A city spokesman said the city has requested the hearing be adjourned to mid-January 2019 or later in that year.)

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