The provincial department of the environment has announced that the planned Walker Road plastic pipe manufacturing plant can go ahead without an environmental impact assessment (EIA).
In a statement e-mailed yesterday to Warktimes, the department said its review determined that the project, which will be owned and operated by Atlantic Industries Limited (AIL), did not meet the requirements for an EIA.
It added that the high-density polyethylene pipe factory also does not need environmental approvals under water and air quality regulations.
“According to the information provided by the company, no significant air emissions are expected from the facility and all wastewater effluents will be transported off site for treatment,” the statement said.
“As a result, there isn’t a requirement for an approval under these regulations.”
The provincial statement advised anyone requiring additional details about the project description to submit a request under the Right to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
“We didn’t expect an EIA to be done because it requires a fair amount of water usage which apparently won’t be happening with the AIL plant,” Will Kriski, a member of the Concerned Citizens group wrote in an e-mail to Warktimes.
He added however, that he still believes that environmental concerns need to be addressed including potential effects on residents’ wells and the town’s water supply as well as “social impacts” such as dust, noise and traffic.
Kriski was one of 35 local residents who signed a letter addressed to the mayor, town councillors and CAO Jamie Burke in May.
It pointed out that no one had been notified about a bylaw change that cleared the way for the AIL plant in an industrially zoned area with no town water and sewer services.
“There were no information sessions offered to residents on this potential development and there were no consultations where citizens could ask questions,” the letter said.
Bonnie Swift, another member of the Concerned Citizens group, says she is still baffled at the lack of environmental awareness of some municipal councillors.
In her e-mail to Warktimes, Swift wondered why no questions were ever asked about the potential effects of the pipe plant especially in a town where there’s a climate change panel with considerable environmental expertise.
“This is a huge development, one of the largest ever seen in Sackville and none of the social impacts, which are often included in the EIA process, were ever considered,” she wrote.
Swift, who spoke to council in June about the potential hazards of plastics manufacturing, criticized councillors for leaving decisions on a project such as this to another level of government.
Meantime, Town Planner Lori Bickford said yesterday that the Southeast Regional Service Commission is still reviewing AIL’s plans before issuing a building permit.
She said that landscaping and other work conducted on the Walker Road property were authorized under a site development permit.