It could be a long and noisy summer for Cheakamus Crossing residents living beside an asphalt plant that's defying municipal orders to stop operating.
A petition to declare the plant in contravention of the zoning bylaw cannot be heard in the B.C. Supreme Court until September.
Until then, by all signs, Alpine Paving appears to be in "business as usual" mode, paving local driveways in the face of a cease and desist order.
Resident Tim Koshul, who has been instrumental in the fight to move the asphalt plant, is generally optimistic with the news that council is pursuing legal action, despite the potential short-term problems.
"I'm glad it's going to go in front of a judge," he said after Tuesday's council meeting, where council's decision was read aloud.
"It's sad that the small children are going to be exposed to the toxic chemicals until September. But certainly for people's long-term health, it's going to be great to have this dealt with once and for all.
"I'm pleased that we won't be stuck with an asphalt plant forever."
Acting Mayor Ralph Forsyth gave the update saying that as Alpine Paving was operating in the face of the cease and desist order, council decided in its closed-door meeting to take action.
"Council has instructed the municipal solicitors to direct the asphalt plant operator to honour Council's cease and desist order pending the Court hearing," he read from a prepared statement. "It should be noted that the Mayor, Councillors and municipal staff cannot force the operator to shut down until such time that the Petition is heard in Court."
In the meantime, council has instructed staff to inspect the facility every day until May 21 to monitor activity.
When asked by residents to expand on background information relating to the plant during the public Question and Answer period, CAO Bill Barratt cautioned Acting Mayor Forsyth.
"I would just stay away from any questions related to the asphalt plant," said Barratt.
When Koshul stepped up to the microphone to ask about Barratt's comments from a year ago about the zoning, the CAO curtly said:
"Mr. Mayor, I'm not going to talk about the asphalt plant tonight."
As perhaps a sign of deepening distrust and resentment between asphalt agitators and the municipality, Barratt refused to repeat his answer to a question posed by Stuart Munro.
"You can watch it on the tape," he said simply.
Tuesday's developments come on the heels of several days of plant operations.
Last Friday, May 13 Koshul stood on a rise overlooking Alpine Paving and took pictures of a plume of steam rising from the plant. It was the deadline day to cease operations.
He then followed a truck full of asphalt to a home in Whistler Cay where it was used to pave a driveway.
"That plant should be in the works of being dismantled today," said Koshul.
"I'm shocked about that."
That was followed with even more response from Cheakamus Crossing residents on their Facebook page this week when a plume of steam came from the plant early Monday morning.
Some members of the group said they had called the municipality to complain. Pictures were posted of the plume.
Though the plant appears to be operating, it is still not clear if it will be supplying the municipality with asphalt for its public road works this year. There is roughly $1 million in asphalt work on the books for 2011.
Council had asked staff to put the asphalt bid out to tender again after only receiving the one bid, from Alpine Paving.
Staff is set to come back to council with an update at a special meeting on Thursday, May 26 from 9 to 11 a.m.
In the meantime neither staff nor council can comment publicly on the bylaw enforcement until a decision has been made in court.
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