By Jackie Tegart, Fraser-Nicola MLA

Over the past few months, no other issue has garnered my attention and my time more than the two proposals to truck biosolid waste to Dry Lake and Rey Creek Ranch in our region.

This is a subject that Merritt, Logan Lake and surrounding communities have grasped and are rightly concerned over.

On Monday, Jan. 26, I attended the public meeting in Merritt organized by the Nicola Valley Watershed Community Round Table.

Thanks to their efforts, over 300 residents were at the Civic Centre to hear an informative discussion about biosolids, how they are regulated and the potential impacts they have on human health and the environment.

I spoke with many who attended and heard from the dozens who got up to the microphone to speak.

A day prior to the meeting, representatives from the Thompson-Nicola Regional District took me to the area near the proposed Dry Lake site so we could get a first-hand look. We also looked at the facility on Sunshine Valley Road and site near the airport both currently being used for composting.

Since this issue broke last year, I’ve worked closely with Environment Minister Mary Polak and staff from her ministry to make sure the concerns of residents are being listened to and respected.

And I’d like to report back that, in large part due to your efforts, the ministry has instructed the proponent of the Dry Lake site to provide more detailed information regarding setbacks from surface water and slopes, on top of an evaluation of groundwater depth and the protection of habitat and drinking water.

This revised plan is anticipated to be submitted by the proponent this spring and the spreading of biosolids at Dry Lake will not be permitted over this period.

The second Rey Creek Ranch proposal has yet to be received but will be thoroughly reviewed before any decision is made.

This is an important issue and I will keep on placing the interests of the constituents first and I look forward hearing from you.

The protection of human health and environmental concerns will trump any business interests when the time comes to make a decision on these proposals. Safety will not be put at risk.