Province Moves to Strike Ash Pile Appeal


Here is a photo of Atlantic Power’s ash landfill,  located next to the Williams Lake River Valley.

Did you know that when the permit to build the power plant was first granted, the ash landfill was required to be set back at least 60 meters from the slope? In 2012, the ash landfill was at or near its original design capacity. Site plans suggest the landfill was encroaching on this 60 meter set back restriction. So what happened? The Ministry quietly removed the 60 meter buffer during an internal amendment of the permit in 2012 and then they approved a further 15 meter vertical expansion of the landfill. The original 60 meter set back requirement is also missing from the latest ash landfill permit amendment which we have appealed.

This is one reason we are appealing the amended permit regarding the ash landfill. The Ministry have approved toxic rail tie ash to be dumped in a pile that is super close to the edge of an silty embankment where sloughing is a common occurrence. This means the ash could fall into the Williams Creek and go into the Fraser River. The heart of our appeal of the ash permit is that the Ministry should have at least considered these factors when deciding to renew AP’s permit this past fall.

What is the Province’s response to our concerns? They are asking the Environmental Appeal Board to dismiss our appeal of the ash landfill permit on the grounds that the composition of the ash landfill is not going to change when rail tie ash is dumped into the ash landfill. However, tests commissioned by AP (RWDI Modelling Study, Table 8) contradict this assertion.

We are fighting the Province’s application to deny our right to appeal. West Coast Environmental is helping to cover expenses for Erin Gray, our lawyer, to respond to this application. We will probably need more funds. Right now, we are updating our gofundme page and Patricia is in the process of writing up exactly how much we need and why. Also, she will explain what we’ve spent and why. This is a bit of a delay because we are all working on this during our free time. We hope to get something out soon.

Please help if you can with donations to Rail Ties Be Wise at the Williams Lake and District Credit Union or a donation via gofundme at: