Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Metro acknowledges "political uncertainty" of waste incineration

In a landmark decision yesterday, the new Metro Board pulled back from a plan being quietly carried out behind the scenes to buy land slated for the first of up to six waste incinerators in our region. They had no choice, after being presented with a last-minute report from the Commissioner acknowledging that they might run into trouble with both the public and the provincial government.

This is a huge and welcome victory for the citizens of Sapperton/McBride neighbourhoods in New Westminster, who packed a hall last summer to learn about the hazards of the facility that their Mayor was still denying was planned for the nearby Canfor industrial site. (Their Mayor voted with all but one of his fellow Directors to "reject" the expropriation.) Before making their decision yesterday, they were reminded by New West resident Joy Foy who is also national campaign director for the Wilderness Committee about the health and environmental hazards of incinerators.
It is also a victory for the citizens of Port Moody who turned out in large numbers through a long hot summer of public meetings about their Council's proposed Plasco gasification plant. Their C0uncil, to its credit, took the time to hear from the public and then acted promptly on what they heard. This is democracy in action.

It is also a victory for the citizens of the Fraser Valley who, led by Abbotsford Councillor Patricia Ross and many other candidates for public office in the Valley, that this plan would go the same way as the Sumas 2 proposal a few years back.

And it's also a victory for "a broader organized interest group within Metro Vancouver" (which will remain nameless!). Zero Waste Vancouver's candidate poll in the 08 civic elections showed overwhelming opposition to incinerators among the region's most civically engaged citizens ~ including many who now have seats at the Metro Board.

Citizens have the politicians' attention. Now it is up to us to show them a better way forward. We'll start by debunking the myth that our region is "running out of landfill space"...
But first Zero Waste Vancouver will participate in a meeting next week in Detroit where 100 anti-incineration from across North America will develop a common agenda for the transition from a Throw-Away Society to a Zero Waste Society.

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