Peace River Regional District board Chair Brad Sperling and Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser will serve on a new technical advisory committee in response to concerns about Site C construction materials proposed to be hauled by truck from a quarry on 85th Avenue.
Their appointments were made during the regional district’s board meeting on Feb. 11. Sperling says they were made due to his and Fraser’s prior career experience.
“My reason for myself and Director Fraser was our backgrounds. Mine in construction pretty well all my life; I do understand engineers’ construction,” said Sperling. “Director Fraser being in the oil patch, he understands oilfield construction, dirt-moving, the safety aspect of it.”
The 85th Avenue industrial lands next to Fort St. John are being excavated for glacial till, needed to construct the earth-fill dam core and channel lining.
A five-kilometre-long conveyor has already been built to ship the materials down to the Peace River, but BC Hydro is seeking amendments to its environmental certificate to haul the materials by dump truck if the conveyor is shut down.
It’s estimated that 122 trucks per hour will use the Old Fort, 240, and 269 Roads for 12 hours a day, and for up to seven months per year from 2021 through 2023.
The PRRD has criticized the plan, saying it lacks details, and ignores concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, traffic delays and safety, road deterioration, local government revenues, and the loss of use of nearby lands by aboriginal groups for traditional purposes, among others.
The technical advisory will also include provincial and federal government staff with the appropriate qualifications and expertise relevant to the proposed amendment, as well as First Nations representatives.
Fraser already sits with Director Dan Rose on the PRRD’s community advisory committee for Site C.
The purpose of that committee has been to give advice on the effects of the project on the community to the BC Environmental Office. Sperling was also appointed to the community advisory committee during the board meeting, along with Fort St John Mayor Lori Ackerman.
The PRRD says it hopes the EAO will also form a select committee of community members for the proposed hauling amendments.
“One feeds the other,” Sperling said of the committees.