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Neighbours block Campbell River plant

Jun 28 2012

A Campbell River pole-peeling plant was blocked off Wednesday morning by residents calling for a review of its permit.

About five cars were parked in front of Northern Pressure Treated Wood Ltd., blocking its entrance and keeping workers from their jobs, said RCMP Staff Sgt. Troy Beauregard.

RCMP responded about 8: 30 a.m. after receiving an anonymous call. There were 30 people at the site, most from the adjacent Blue Spruce Mobile Home Park.

Beauregard said the protesters moved their cars shortly after he explained it was illegal to block someone's property.

Residents of the park have been vocal about their opposition to the plant, which they say has brought noise, dust and traffic to the area since it began operating in January.

After receiving hundreds of complaints, the city required the plant to reduce the noise of its operation. A spokesperson for Northern Pressure Treated Wood Ltd., which is still making the noise changes, was not available for comment.

But mobile home park owner Tracey Deller said the plant shouldn't be there in the first place. She said the city granted a development permit without public consultation called for by the Local Government Act. "If our local government had followed the rules - the legal framework that the provincial government set down - this pole plant would likely not be here," Deller said.

But the city's land use manager, Ross Blackwell, said public consultation wasn't required for the permit the plant needed - a minor development permit for form and character. He said the official community plan was referred to instead.

"It is interpreted that the consultation generated through the development of an official community plan satisfies the need for public input in association with the development permits, because the permits are established by that official community plan process," he said.

North Island MLA Claire Trevena sent a letter to Community Minister Ida Chong on Monday about the conflict.

"I would like to request your ministry appoint a mediator to meet with all the parties concerned and try to find a solution," Trevena wrote.

Deller said if the province doesn't step in, she will considering hiring a lawyer.

mkaralis@timescolonist.com