Asphalt plant raises residents’ hackles

A proposed asphalt plant in the north end of the city has neighbours concerned.

A proposed asphalt plant in the north end of the city has neighbours concerned.

Castle Rock Enterprises has applied for a conditional use permit to install a portable asphalt manufacturing plant at the quarry site near Haeckel Hill.

The asphalt from the plant is to be used in the construction of the Whistle Bend subdivision next year.

Ten people appeared before council on Wednesday, all expressing some degree of apprehension about Castle Rock’s plans.

Those petitioners included Lake Laberge MLA Brad Cathers.

“It’s very clear that a lot of people are concerned,” he said.

The Yukon government’s lands branch has granted approval for the plant, but it still needs the consent of the city to go forward.

The big concern for residents of the area is emissions from the plant.

However, the Yukon government, not the city, regulates emissions.

Cathers said that the those regulations are old and don’t take into account things like asthma and multiple chemical sensitivity.

“I think collectively both levels of government need to look at strengthening those regulations,” he said.

When asked by Mayor Bev Buckway if he was suggesting the city should start taking over that regulatory role from the territorial government, Cather’s didn’t go that far.

“People don’t want the city and the territory pointing fingers at each other,” he said. “People in the area have a right to information and expect the Yukon government and the city to consider impact, not get into an argument or dispute over who’s responsible.”

Castle Rock also had representatives there to defend the plans.

While the Yukon may have out-of date emissions regulations, Castle Rock doesn’t, said Ted Danyluck, vice-president of operations.

The plant that they are considering meets or exceeds the BC emissions regulations, which are the most stringent of any jurisdiction in the country, he said.

“It’s comparable with a bakery or local gas stations for emissions,” said Danyluk.

Whitehorse already has one asphalt plant within city limits run by Skookum Asphalt.

That one is much closer to residential areas, said Danyluk. Castle Rock’s proposed plant would be twice as far away from any residential developments.

Despite these assurances, some people are skeptical.

Coun. Dave Austin suggested the company host a public meeting with residents to help clear the air.

A suggestion that was praised by Cathers.

Council is expected to make a decision on the plant on October 24.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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