Opponents of the asphalt plant located near Cheakamus Crossing are optimistic that the current court action around it will come out in their favour.
Tim Koshul, spokesman for the No Asphalt Plant (NAP) group that opposes the plant's location near the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood, said in an interview that he's "very optimistic" that the courts, currently processing a dispute over a cease-and-desist order issued against the plant, will rule for their side.
"Most judges don't deal in smoke and mirrors," he said. "It comes down to law, not he said, she said innuendos or someone told me I could be there. I'm certain a judge will ask the question, what does the zoning say?"
Koshul spoke as an affidavit was released just a day earlier showing that Brian Barnett, the municipality's former deputy municipal engineer and general manager of environmental services, indicated to plant owner Frank Silveri that he could operate at his current site despite some question over whether it is zoned for asphalt production.
There was an attempt in 1998 to rezone the property to allow asphalt production and a ready-mix concrete facility but it was later abandoned.
Silveri explained in the affidavit that the municipality consistently told him he could operate at the site from May 1997 right up to April of 2011, when it issued him a cease-and-desist order that he's currently fighting to keep his asphalt plant operating there.
The municipality is now moving ahead with a petition to stop the plant from operating at the site and it is expected the earliest court date for the case is in September, although there's a possibility it could be later than that.
Koshul read the affidavit and said some important information was missing from Silveri's statement.
"First of all, there's no documentation to prove it," he said. "I believe sometime between whatever Mr. Silveri is alleging and the (rezoning) application put in, that somebody along the way, if somebody told Frank he had the right to be there, somebody corrected that, and that's why an application was put in."
Koshul noted that there is no documentation provided in the affidavit to supplement Silveri's claim that Barnett told him he could operate at his current site.
The only documentation cited in the affidavit that supports that claim is a memo from John Nelson, then director of public works for the municipality, who said Silveri was given incorrect information when he was initially told before his conversation with Barnett that he could not operate his asphalt plant on a property zoned IP1.
"Brian Barnett did not have the power, or anyone on staff, to have ever told Mr. Silveri that it's okay to have an asphalt plant there," Koshul said. "If it was or it wasn't Mr. Barnett doesn't make a difference, because somebody corrected the mistake, because there was a rezoning application in 1998, after this correspondence.
"What trumps hearsay and gossip is documentation, and that's called the rezoning application."
Dave Buzzard, an opponent of the asphalt plant who doesn't live in Cheakamus Crossing, echoed many of Koshul's concerns, saying that it isn't definitive that Barnett gave Silveri the indication he could operate.
"It's either contrary to the zoning or it's not, you can't operate some place that's contrary to zoning," he said. "The other thing that's missing out of Silveri's affidavit, there's two big things, is any mention of the actual bylaw is not listed in there. There's no wording from the bylaw because the bylaw, it's very specific in what it says."
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