Airborne dust caused by a blast at Elkview Operations in Sparwood. (File photo)

Sparwood council defers endorsing Teck dust management plan

District staff noted the company had not adequately responded to concerns raised

District of Sparwood councillors have voted to defer an endorsement for Teck’s Air Quality and Dust Control Management Plan (AQDCMP) for its Elkview operations as well as the Baldy Ridge Extension project.

The Sept. 15 council decision was made at the recommendation of district staff and the district’s Socio-Community and Economics Effects Advisory Committee (SCEEAC), an advisory body to the council on all matters associated with the Baldy Ridge Extension.

According to the SCEEAC, Teck has failed to adequately adress comments and feedback from the committee on the AQDCMP, with the committee highlighting a lack of answers on the makeup of the dust produced by company operations.

“The community has been asking for years to know the chemical composition of the dust,” reads a council staff report justifying the recommendation to defer endorsement of Teck’s management plan.

“Teck’s reflection of the SCEEAC comment was incomplete, stating only ‘would like to review dust reports more frequently’, which did not speak to what was requested regarding ‘what is in the dust’.”

The staff report also reported that SCEEAC noted only one minor suggestion from the committee had been adopted into the management plan, and that the company had seemingly waved away all other comments as not requiring changes.

“The feedback from the committee member is that work done by this group is to work cooperatively in order to develop strategies and procedures for continued operations and solutions to benefit the public that are affected and that this group is the conduit for representation to that end. The impression is that input provided by SCEEAC members is not being taken seriously enough by Teck to be addressed in the AQDCMP.”

Councillors voted to withhold their endorsement of the AQDCMP until Teck could respond to committee concerns, with only councillor Saad voting against.

The AQDCMP however is a provincial permit requirement, and Teck will be submitting the document to regulatory authorities at the end of September, regardless of the District’s endorsement.

“Of course we would want to continue to work with SCEEAC to address any concerns that they have,” said Rick Magliocco, who is Teck’s senior environmental coordinator for their Elkview operations.

“Obviously we’ll be going to work on that in a timely manner to try and work through some of the issues, but ultimately we would submit the report by the deadline.”

Magliocco said that the company felt it had addressed the concerns raised by SCEEAC, noting that they were “not all addressed in a matter that required updates to the management plan.”

The next meeting between Teck and the SCEEAC is scheduled for Oct. 21.

READ MORE: Two environmental assessments for Castle Project sends bad mixed messages: Sparwood mayor Wilks
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