Port council supports has no objections to burning wood waste

  • Feb. 20, 2013 10:00 a.m.

Port Clements council will be writing a letter to the Ministry of the Environment in support of local sawmill Abfam Enterprises Ltd, which is seeking permission to continue burning waste wood. Council members voted Monday night (Feb. 18) to support Abfam after reading a letter from mill manager Randy Friesen. Mr. Friesen said Abfam has been burning waste wood at the mill site in Port’s industrial park for the past 25 years, but the Ministry of the Environment will not allow the waste wood to be burned after 2016 unless the mill receives special authorization. Mr. Friesen said Abfam and Old Massett have recently formed a joint venture company and the sawmill should be running full-time by next month, employing 25 people. Council members were generally in favour of supporting Abfam’s request, with councillor Ian Gould saying that he has never heard a complaint about the burning. However, councillor Kazamir Falconbridge said he has worked at the mill and seen first-hand how the smoke from the burner affects workers. “I have serious concerns,” he said. “There’s no way to keep the smoke away from the workers… You’re just constantly breathing in this horrible wood smoke.” Councillor Matt Gaspar said he had also worked at the mill and had never seen anything like that. In his experience, he said, the wood was burned at a very high temperature and there was no smoke around the site. After some discussion, council voted unanimously to write the Ministry of the Environment, saying that the village has no objection to the mill burning wood waste. The letter will also say that the village would ultimately like to see the waste used to generate electricity.