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‘No Asphalt Plant’ open house today

Residents to discuss ways to handle rezoning application

Impassioned future residents of the Cheakamus Crossing neighbourhood continue to push forward their concerns over a nearby asphalt plant.

On Monday, homeowner Tim Koshul announced his plan to hold an open house at the Hilton Whistler Resort and Spa Hotel today, Thursday, June 10. The open house will start at 7 p.m.

"I am not comfortable with this thing," said Koshul. "Something is not right, and we will get to the bottom of it."

At the public meeting residents will discuss how to formally organize themselves to protest the deal between the Resort Municipality of Whistler and Frank Silveri, the owner of Whistler Alpine Paving Ltd. and Whistler Aggregates Ltd.

Through the deal, signed on May 13, the plant will be relocated behind a hill 150 metres south of its current site. The agreement also includes a stringent new air quality bylaw to be implemented by Oct. 31.

The resident group will likely be called No Asphalt Plant (NAP), said Koshul, to comment on the fact "someone was napping at the municipality and Whistler Development Corporation" when the decision was made to allow the asphalt plant to continue operating near the neighbourhood.

During the open house NAP residents will also flesh out ways to handle the rezoning application when it comes before council later this summer.

Koshul explained many of the residents would prefer to keep the asphalt plant at the present location, since Silveri's tenure currently ends in 2017. No timeline has yet been proposed for the new location, however, but many believe the compromise will extend his stay beyond 2017.

"If you rezone him then he is there forever," said Koshul. "But if you leave him where he is, I think we have a good opportunity to have him moved out of Whistler."

To keep tabs on the air quality, Koshul is also working to bring in an air quality specialist.

Koshul wants to use a "Bucket Brigade," an air sample device housed inside a five-gallon plastic budget. The apparatus was developed in Northern California in 1995 as a cheap way for communities to test for toxic gases.

Either the Louisiana Bucket Brigade or Global Community Monitor will likely be hired to carry out the tests.

"We are arranging to fly them up here so we can start doing some air quality tests this summer," said Koshul. "I think it is a good idea because people are moving in this fall... If he (Silveri) has nothing to hide then he has nothing to worry about."

The NAP residents also have created 300 pins to draw attention to their protest. The simple black and white pins read: "I heart clear air - No Asphalt Plant in Whistler!" and were handed out during Enviro Fest.

"They were gone like hot cakes," said Koshul, who only had seven left after the festival.

Koshul put the final pins into marked envelopes, which he then delivered to the six Whistler councillors as well as Mayor Ken Melamed on Monday at Municipal Hall.