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2016 News and Information

Metro Vancouver must address odour problem

09 November 2016

Metro Vancouver regional district should consider addressing the groundswell of odour complaints in Richmond and throughout the region by revisiting its contract with Harvest Power for the disposal of organic waste.

Metro Vancouver recently issued a new air quality permit for Harvest Power’s Richmond facility. The permit includes new, more stringent measures for odour control and remedies if the company fails to comply. Metro Vancouver is responsible for air quality issues within the region, a role delegated by the Province of BC.

Despite the new permit, public complaints about the odours from the facility are continuing to climb and many residents are calling for the permit issuance to be appealed.

An appeal process by the City could take more than a year to conclude and suspend any efforts to address the odour problem until it is completed. It would not be effective in immediately addressing the complaints. Instead, the City is calling on Metro Vancouver to use the tools it has at hand to seek immediate solutions.  Under Provincial legislation, broad authority has been delegated to Metro Vancouver and their use of this authority could have more immediate results.

The new permit provides some valuable new tools, which should help address the odour issue over the long-term. Harvest Power has committed to taking immediate action and making significant investments in order to meet these requirements, but Metro Vancouver can also immediately seek to negotiate additional requirements through its contract with Harvest Power. The City believes this would help provide the quickest solutions to address to the problem.  Results are needed now.

Mayor Malcolm Brodie praised citizens who have responded to the City’s call to put pressure on Metro Vancouver and Harvest Power to take action on the odour issue

“We need to make it clear that the progress to date is not sufficient. We need concrete steps taken now to alleviate the odours and the impact they are having on our residents’ quality of life,” said Mayor Brodie.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to call Metro Vancouver’s odour complaint hotline at 604-436-6777 or use the online complaint form on Metro Vancouver’s Make An Air Quality Complaint webpage.

A link to the Metro Vancouver complaint form can also be found on the City of Richmond website’s homepage at www.richmond.ca. Residents are also encouraged to phone Harvest Power directly at 604-836-8387 to encourage the company to meet its responsibilities.

The Province has delegated authority to Metro Vancouver to regulate air quality and appears unaware of citizen concerns about the issue.  Share your concerns with the Minister of the Environment, at env.minister@gov.bc.ca and/or your local MLA.

Richmond City Council is also requesting that Metro Vancouver hold a public meeting to explain the Harvest Power permit renewal to concerned citizens.

More information on the actions the City of Richmond has taken to date can be found at here.