Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Proposed landfill incinerator sparks heated discussion at Town of Pincher Creek council meeting

Toni Lucas

Council for the Town of Pincher Creek met on Monday, June 22. A letter from citizen Delphine Crayford was read that expressed disapproval of the proposed incinerator at the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill, which is located south of Highway 3 between Cowley and Lundbreck.   Crayford's letter indicated that she and her husband were strongly opposed to the project due to financial costs and health risks.  The ensuing council discussion led to a request for a Regional Council Meeting, at which landfill association representatives could give a presentation and answer questions.

Councillors Doug Thornton and Jim Litkowski both vehemently agreed with the concerns expressed in the letter. Thornton said, "If the landfill wants to go ahead and do this, I believe, at the very least, there should be an environmental impact assessment done on that.  Let me tell you, I would really think there'd needed to be an environment impact assessment done if I lived in the Village of Cowley, which is immediately downwind."

Councillor Litkowski asked if any of the other councillors were aware of the impact of the incinerator and landfill area in the Swan Hills area of northern Alberta.  "You cannot farm, hunt, fish, drink the water, or use the land.  I'm not sure if it's a 30 kilometre radius, or a 50 kilometre radius. Everything's polluted."  He said if anywhere near the same geographic range is affected here "That affects everyone in this town, it affects the MD, it affects the reserve (Piikani Nation)."

Councillor Jackson sits on the Landfill Committee. He said it was his understanding that"They would have to follow the European models that we have seen, with basically no emissions that come from those style of incinerators."

"They situate those units in close proximity to towns and villages, and you can't tell they're there," continued Jackson. "That's how little comes from those plants. They are waste-to-energy facilities that put power back into the communities."

In answer to Litkowski's concerns Jackson said the Swan Hills facility takes in different materials than the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill does. He said the proposed incinerator can reach over 1,100 degrees celsius.  This temperature is required to eradicate BSE prions from beef carcasses.  The proposed incinerator would include heat capture and electrical generation, according to Jackson.  "Even if it's just to run the landfill itself, it would be a benefit."

Councillor Thornton suggested burial and chemical ways of dealing with landfill. "I don't want to see anything that involves combustion."  Mayor Don Anderberg said there are a lot of differing technologies, many of which have proven to be safe.

Council decided to request a Regional Council Meeting with landfill representatives to have a presentation and discussion about the proposed incinerator before the project moves forward.  Council directed administration to  request the landfill not proceed with any financial commitments for the project until after such a meeting takes place.

Crayford included links in her letter that she invited council members to investigate:

Dr. Paul Connett two part  Youtube presentation:

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