Local environmental group raises concerns over a proposed cargo facility

Hillary Johnson

Questions are being raised by the Kitimat Terrace Clean Air Coalition regarding Progressive Ventures' proposed cargo facility in Terrace. The multi-million-dollar train cargo transfer facility is planned to occupy the former Skeena Cellulose sawmill site on Keith Avenue.

The transload facility would perform transfers of shipping containers between trucks and trains. It would also allow for packing and unpacking contents as well as provide storage. K.T.C.A.C Director Charles Claus says the group is hosting a Zoom informational meeting tonight from 7 to 8 pm for pre-registered participants.

"The meeting is an opportunity to share a number of findings and perspectives that we have been able to pick up from the experience of CN having a large yard in Prince George. We want to raise some issues and inform the public about some of the potential impacts. Our purpose is to create greater awareness and discussion. We are not against the industry at all. We realize we are an industrial town. We know that if it's warranted, a container port like this may be important."

The noise and air pollution aren't the only concerns the coalition has -- location, increased traffic and the cities aesthetics were also mentioned.

"So we are also concerned about emissions from trains shuttling cars back and forth. There are studies that look at train emissions, and they are significant. I am also concerned about increased truck traffic as they emit fumes, and they make noise. Another concern would be, does this facility operate 24/7 like the facility in Prince George."

Claus feels that the North needs to be more strategic in where large industrial complexes are placed to reduce or avoid having to mitigate potential problems in the future.

"I think the effect of that being developed as an industrial site, the negatives far outweigh the positives. We've got to be patient. We are not against economic development as a group, but we think the air quality, the aesthetics, the location, the effects on human habitation in the downtown is certainly negative."

Terrace Mayor Carol Leclerc has mentioned the need for an additional overpass to help with the town's already increased traffic levels. She says the city will be virtually attending the upcoming UBCM to ask for assistance from the premier and minister of transportation infrastructure concerning this venture.

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