Asphalt plant: what have we learned? 

Community members weigh in on the debate

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The asphalt plant has been pumping black smoke in the air and the smell is too much for many of the community members to take. The Cheakamus Crossing Facebook group has been racked with neighbour complaints about the plant amid concerns about the smell and spikes in the air quality-monitoring chart, indicating intervals of higher-than-normal doses of particulates in the air.

When the rezoning application bylaw was defeated in September, which would have moved the plant 150 metres and pursued aggressive air quality measures, it was a victory for everyone who opposed the asphalt plant being there at all. If the bylaw passed, the plant would remain there indefinitely, possibly for decades. This is no longer the case now that the bylaw has been defeated. To members of No Asphalt Plant, including Tim Koshul, denying the plant any permanent zoning is one step toward making the Alpine Paving asphalt plant move.

Council is not so sure. Mayor Ken Melamed has said that the rezoning bylaw was the best option for the people of Cheakamus Crossing and for Whistler. Council currently has no plans to pursue the issue during winter.

Last month, Ted Milner advised that everyone "chill out," and this winter will likely be a time when everyone concerned with this issue will recharge their batteries - and in the process reflect on what exactly has been learned through this fiasco.

But Pique didn't want to wait for that answer, so we've asked all council members: what lessons have been learned so far?

 

Mayor Ken Melamed (voted for the zoning bylaw amendment; has maintained that the amendment was the best and only solution for the community; voted against motion to move plant by June 1):

 

"( Via email ) The only true lesson learned is that in 1997 an ambiguity in the zoning language should have been clarified. This would not have changed the decision to locate the Athletes' (Village) at the current site, but it would have removed the confusion and frustration about the legality issue... The deal on the table - to relocate the asphalt plant, to have the plant upgraded, and to implement a new air quality bylaw - I believe was a good one, which would have moved us forward on a path to cleaner air and a better neighbourhood.

"The other aspects of the debate are ones with which I have become familiar in my years as an elected representative of the community, and are part of the process. Hindsight is a powerful vision, issues will appear late in the process, posturing is inevitable and we often stumble as pressure increases.

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