Nicola Valley residents protest influx of sewage sludge from Okanagan
MERRITT–A truck hauling treated sewage waste from the Okanagan to a processing plant in the Nicola Valley was turned around at a blockade on Highway 8 on Tuesday.
Protesters say they don’t want the biosolids brought into the valley, and they are angry there was no public consultation on the matter before a deal was inked.
“We want the government to make some changes to their policies,” says Georgia Clement with the group Friends of the Nicola Valley. “They have to start making it more transparent. People have to know that biosolids can come to a neighbourhood near you without any notification at all.”
Local First Nations also joined in the partial blockade. “We have a big concern about it because our people live off the land and there’s been no proof that I have seen that it is safe,” says Grand Chief Percy Joe, of the Shackan Indian Band.
“We met with the government over a month ago,” claims Chief Aaron Sam, with the Lower Nicola Indian Band, “and they told us that they would inform us what is happening in terms of biowaste being disposed of here in the Nicola Valley and we haven’t received anything from government yet.”
The company involved, BioCentral, is honouring the blockade, and says it is willing to talk with opponents.
No one with the government offered comment in time for today’s story.
The protesters say they will stay put until their concerns are addressed.
The Central Okanagan Regional District signed a five year deal in October to ship sewage treatment biosolids from communities like West Kelowna and Peachland to the Nicola Valley