Aevitas Inc. has pulled the plug on plans to build a hazardous waste recycling plant by the Fraser River.
Aevitas president Byron Day quietly made the announcement about the Chilliwack plant “with great disappointment” late Wednesday afternoon.
“I regret to inform all interested parties that Aevitas Inc. is no longer pursuing the development and building of a state of the art special waste management facility in Chilliwack.”
The “multiple hurdles” thrown up by critics have amounted to “a neverending uphill battle,” admitted Day.
A coalition of First Nations, environmental groups, river stewards and sport fishing advocates formed to fight the location of the plant, which is less than 200 metres from the Fraser River.
Opponents first stood before Chilliwack city council to oppose the rezoning, they formed a coalition, and signed a petition that yielded thousands of signatures against the riverside location.
It has always been the proximity to the river, that was the sticking point for the Aevitas plan, said Ernie Crey, fisheries advisor to Sto:lo Tribal Council and band council member for Cheam First Nations.
“I am happy to hear this news,” said Crey. “I expected that they would have given up sooner, but I think that Mr. Day has made the right decision under the circumstances.”
The opposition that arose against the project was never a criticism of the Aevitas owner or the recycling processes that they are known for, but rather the location, Crey underlined.
Most recently local First Nations reps met with provincial leadership to share their opposition to the plan.
The waste recycling experts at Aevitas share “the concern of opposition groups to protect the Fraser River,” said Day, but it is “unfortunate that efforts and funding could not be collaborated to develop world class facilities and processes as opposed to stopping them.”
They were promising 10 levels of disaster and flood protection in the design, but critics were never convinced.
“Aevitas has been a leader throughout Canada in these specialized waste recycling niches for more than 20 years,” Day wrote in his statement.
“Our intent was to build a recycling facility that could handle and manage drummed hazardous waste, transformer oil and fluorescent lamps from B.C.”
The Aevitas owner thanked the City of Chilliwack for support and understanding as well as CHP Architects for delivering a top-notch design.
“In this day and age, we do have the means to manage these wastes in as safe and environmentally friendly manner,” Day wrote. “These wastes are present in everyone’s daily lives and without facilities such as the one were proposing, improper disposal disburses them into in the air, land and water.”
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Letter from Aevitas: