The Toxic Blob That Ate Due Diligence

News this past week that the Pier Park is home to a much greater amount of toxic contamination than was previously thought comes as little surprise to many observers. After all, the site has a long history of industrial use from an age when environmental considerations, regulations and awareness were not what they are today.

Sadly, the due diligence that could have identified a costly issue like this one early on was lacking at the outset of the project.

We want to be very clear here in stating that Voice and its members are not at all opposed to opening up New Westminster’s long-derelict waterfront to productive new uses such as parks, walkways, housing and commercial enterprises. Reclaiming the city’s derelict waterfront and making it accessible and useful once again have been a goal of the community for several decades and all of these would be welcome improvements.

In fact, in a September 25, 2008 Voice press release, we stated our full support for “the creation of a properly planned foreshore park on New Westminster’s waterfront” while at the same time expressing our concern that negotiations for the sale of the Westminster pier property were nearing the completion stage without any public consultation or planning.

In our assessment, it looked very much like the purchase deal had been put together quickly to meet the deadline of the 2008 election and that the mayor was “trying to conjure up an election goody to dangle before the voters without any regard for logical planning, just like he did with the Plaza 88 development prior to the [previous] election.”

Due diligence was clearly warranted considering the history of the property but was just as clearly lacking, and we offered several recommendations in our September 2008 press release outlining what we felt the appropriate course of action should be in relation to the Westminster pier property purchase:


1. That the City of New Westminster should acquire an option to buy the Westminster Pier parcel of land with the stated intention that it plans to use the property for a foreshore park and a pocket cruise ship destination.

2. That after an option to buy has been acquired, the city should engage in a transparent and comprehensive public consultation process regarding the proposed use of the property.

3. That all owners and occupants of properties in the vicinity of the proposed foreshore park should be notified in writing of the proposed consultation process.

4. That all necessary amendments to the Official Community Plan (OCP) and all necessary zoning issues be dealt with completely prior to the city exercising its option to buy the Westminster Pier property.

5. That the intentions of TransLink with respect to the construction of a new Pattullo Bridge be determined prior to the completion of a purchase of the property.

There was clearly no good reason why the pier property needed to be purchased in a rush in the Fall of 2008 other than to serve as a pre-election announcement for the Mayor. The property certainly wasn’t going anywhere, especially when you consider the “brownfield” status of the property and the high cost of remediating the impacts of past industrial activity on sites like this.

There was more than enough time for the proper due diligence to have been carried out, but sadly it was not and that omission is now coming home to roost.

Where this will all end up, and what the full financial impact will ultimately be for the already overburdened taxpayers of New Westminster, remains to be seen. But one thing is certain: Due diligence is essential to good governance and there is always time for it in any well-planned, transparent public process. It is truly unfortunate, therefore, that due diligence was not observed in the purchase of the pier property and, even worse, that due diligence was trumped by political opportunism.

60 thoughts on “The Toxic Blob That Ate Due Diligence

  1. Good comments.
    When the BS spin on this park started we heard about a “front room” etc, “boy wonder councillor talking about “dipping your toes in the water”.
    The whole park was going to be done for $23M.
    Now, after the BS settles, it will cost $50M, and only 1/3 of the park will be done.
    Hizonor, Mayor Nosestretcher, says it will be done on time, on budget. Right.
    These pronouncements by Wayneocchio, are wearing thin.
    Why doesn’t the MSM pick up on the constate garbage comming out?

  2. Didn’t the city conduct a media-only tour of the pier site last Friday? What looked, at the time, like an exercise in good corporate communications, and keeping the media and the public updated, sure looks like an effort at damage control and political spin now. This project is really starting to smell like a financial boondoggle for Royal City taxpayers like me and I’m not happy about it.

  3. If you ask the communication people at city hall they will tell you they had no idea about this. Just wait till the final bill comes in, god help us all

  4. I hear the D.O.T. is now investigating as this now has the potential to close Front Street and the lower railway line so this mess can get cleaned up.

  5. Some guy, I think his name was Chrosty, said this park cost was over $1000.00 per resident. Is this true? Can someone verify this.
    Also , I read where the Mayor said this huge cost was OK because the Feds were paying.
    Is this guy nuts?
    what has this city ever done for the entire West End?
    One park for one half of the city.

  6. Did the city and the contractor actually think they could get away with this? They originally identified contaminated soil, at a great expense they excavated and truck it all out, then instead of getting it retested they proceeded to back fill. Now it will all have to come be excavated and truck out again, the contractor should pay for this mistake!!

  7. The city can spend millions on a sliver of waterfront property but can’t seem to find any money to supply a few more inexpensive skate tie-up stools at Moody Park Arena. There is something really wrong with this picture. The arena has only a half dozen or so of these inexpensive skate tie-up stools for the hundreds of parents and kids that use the facility weekly, but millions seem to be available for the handful of people who will end up using a difficult to access waterfront park (ever been to Sapperton’s waterfront park?) this is spending priority foolishness at its worst.

  8. I grow tired of people who are not wanting the pier park. I am very excited by it. We should never question our leaders. They know best. I support mayor Wayne to spend anything he must on this wonderful dream. People will come from the whole world to see our wonderful park. I am proud and excited by this.

  9. The city and local tax payers will be on the hook for this high risk toxic blog which covers 5% of the peir park and section of road and railway. Poetic justice after the city stuck the school district with a contaimated school site full of human remains.

  10. Our local MPs will be on this! MP Peter has currently engaged the railways on noise pollution so he will now be able to add soil pollution. MP Fin recently took his save the salmon campaign to 25 communities along the river, he can now include cleaning up New Westminster’s high risk toxic blog that the contractors are currently dredging up – which is damaging the salmon habitat

  11. I agree with people concerned that the cleanup for this site could drive costs up. I think it’s exaggerating though to say it’s going to be a “nightmare.” But it could make it very difficult to deliver all the elements promised on time and on budget.
    We already are getting half the park we initially thought we’d get. And though the city says it decided to build a pier to last 75 years rather than 10, they should have sorted that out with the initial cost estimate.

  12. The park is under construction, so discussing whether we should or shouldn’t build a waterfront park is now moot. We’re past the point of no return. As they say, “in for a dime, in for a dollar.” The horse has left the barn. Elvis has left the building.

    The question now: does the end justify the means?

    The mayor proceeded with this purchase essentially on his own, wheeling and dealing without the benefit of the commentary and sober second thought that public involvement would have provided.

    So, does the end of opening up the waterfront justify the way the mayor went about it? I don’t think so because the price of the mayor’s actions will be borne by the taxpayers of this city who had no say in the decision.

  13. Chris have you seen the 500 year 1st growth timber the contractors have stockpiled from the demolition – it would have lasted another 75 years as well. They could have fixed up the existing dock for a fraction of what they are spending. This is an environmental nightmare , ministry officials need to be monitoring this very close as the salmon fry will be on their way down stream soon.

  14. Just a note to Matt – I won’t profess to be an expert of any sort on this…
    But, in general I’d say new waterfront projects like this are almost always dealing with very dirty properties. And (again) virtually in all cases the properties are left much cleaner than they were before, with decent riparian areas to boot. Like the ancient bones on the old school site, when we embark on these projects we’re forced to deal with some nasty aspects of our past. And most of the time, we’re leaving these sites in a better state.

  15. To Matt and Chris
    It will be our children and grandchildren that will be paying for the mistakes (both past and present) that were made at the peir and the high school cemetery site

  16. Hello Chris,
    I can’t argue with much of what you are saying.
    It is true that the properties will be cleaned up. It is also true that many properties such as this are, as you say, very dirty properties.
    The question begs, why did the city buy the property and relieve the previous owner of its obligation for remediation? Voice sent a press release to do due diligence first.
    We all know why, and what the answer is to the previous question. To do due diligence simply did not make for good politics. How many public amenities are not being done so that this project can be finished? What damage has this done to the city’s financial position? What will be the long term debt?
    If all of the facts were known, and put before the public, then they could have made an informed decision. Instead, Mayor Nosestretcher charges full speed ahead, with his spin doctor working overtime to make this look like no big deal.
    Very few people are opposed to the foreshore park, just do it the correct way – tell the truth.

  17. This is a non-story, no matter how much Voice try to ramp it up. The “high risk classification” is a formality, part of the remediation process. Due diligence was done in 2008, and to suggest otherwise is to not understand the process that the Contaminated sites Regulations sets out for these types of sites.

    I’m pretty non-partisan, but I hate to see science misconstrued to make cheap political points.

  18. I wonder what the rest of the world thinks of New Westminster. City council passes a motion to build a park on a toxic waste land surrounded by 4 lanes of trucks and 3 lanes of trains and they still think it is a good idea. A past council and school board thought it was a good idea to build a high school on top of thousands of human remains. Case law tells us it is the organizations that caused the contamination that are responsible. The city should not be responsible for the pier park they did not make the mess. The city is responsible for the cemetery; they sold burial plots – filled it up and sold it to the district.

  19. P@J,
    Abraham Lincoln had a thought about people such as you. It starts like this:
    You can fool some of the people all of the time…….
    To suggest that due diligence was done is nonsense.
    Science misconstrued? What nonsense is that?
    Several people have reported large quantities of material and refuse dumped into the river at the exact time that fish in abundance were jumping in the river.
    What due process was done about costs, and about what peoples priorities were.
    Why are we now getting a lot less park than was first proposed? Why is there significantly more contamination than was first sold to the public. Why is it that perfectly good yellow cedar pilings are being scrubbed for a much inferior quality piling?
    Why is it that several personel on the site are calling it the biggest cluster**** they have ever seen, and that they have never seen such a waste of money?
    P@J, other than the idea, which was good, this has been a boondoggle the way it has been handled.

  20. Mr. Johnstone can you explain what specifically you mean by “due diligence was done in 2008″, and how did the city do this? You seem well informed and I would like to hear your comment.

  21. P@J as a non-partisan as well, I would hate to see your cheap political points attempt to misconstrue science!

    It is clear you and the New Westminster Environmental Partners have not done your homework (I believe this is the first time you have even ventured into the debate).
    As the city realizes the cost to clean the toxic blob the park will get smaller and smaller. You heard it here first!

  22. I don’t get it, wouldn’t due diligence include environmental assessments ? I didn’t see that mentioned in your sept 2008 press release. And at 8 metres depth, which is about 20 feet below low water, you can’t simply dig it out with a machine.

  23. I have to say I like the idea of a waterfront park, but I also think some important questions are being asked and that’s good. A very interesting discussion.

  24. So many opinions based on so little information…

    One at a time:
    ALO: “Case Law” doesn’t tell us the polluter is responsible, the Environmental Management Act does. However, first one must find who is responsible (if they still exist), and in order to recover any costs from them, you must first spend the money. It may not be the person(s) the City bought the land from. Really, neither you nor I know who the “Person Responsible” under the EMA is, so it would be hard to provide a knowledgeable legal opinion. But hey, I’m not a Lawyer.

    Concerned: According to previous Council minutes, Environmental Site Assessments were done prior to the purchase. “Due diligence” in this case means doing what would be expected of a responsible person entering the purchase. To me, an ESA represents “due diligence”. But hey, I’m not a lawyer.

    All of my info comes from press reports and council minutes. I have not discussed this project with anyone at City Hall, nor have I communicated with the professionals doing the work on the site. So right now, Mr. Bell is probably more informed than I am.

    Bullitt: When it comes to Partisan politics: I have no horses in this race. I think Mr. Crosty brings up some good points (on Theresa’s blog), but using inflammatory language like “toxic blob” to scare people is a little cheap, and isn’t supported by the science. That is my only point. Buy hey, I’m not a politician.

    As for the NWEP: this issue has not been discussed at any NWEP meeting I have attended. To the best of my info. So as an organization they probably haven’t done much homework…which is why the NWEP has not made any statements about this project at all.

    I’m not sure what “homework” you think I missed, because I have been watching this issue for a few years, mostly out of personal/professional interest in Brownfields.

    Mostly, I can’t believe we are all arguing about this the day before the United Boulevard Extension open house – can we all agree that is the issue we need to hit hard right now?

  25. To P@J, Abe Lincoln? I appreciate the comparison, but I don’t look good in black. But you were so eloquent, I will address your points one-by-one.

    Point 1: The inflammatory language used to describe the DNAPL plume in the media (new and traditional) is not supported by the science that is reported on the site. I have yet to hear any of my detractors refute that, which is strange, since that is my only point in this entire discussion!

    “Several People” should have reported those alleged violations to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, instead of waiting 6 months then blogging anonymously about them. For future reference, the number is 1-800-465-4336.

    I have not yet made any comments about costs, nor do I have an opinion about costs (see point 1 above). I don’t know what the investigation and remediation is costing, so I really can’t comment. If you want opinions about costs, call an accountant.

    How much contamination were you sold? And how much is there now? What makes you so certain there is more?

    I know nothing about piles, yellow or otherwise. See Point 1.

    Again, I have not heard “several personnel” on the site comment on it, maybe you have. Sorry, but I can’t comment on hearsay from an anonymous blog commenter. Nor does that hearsay address Point 1.

    This may indeed be a boondoggle, I don’t know. See Point 1.

  26. Well PJ, I think if your going to go around representing environmental issues with NWEP you should have long made a position on the park out of due diligence, as this has been and continues to be a high profile story.

    You certainly are not a lawyer, Welcome to partisan politics !

  27. To P@J
    Good discussion, long overdue.
    One point P@J, the polluter is responsible, that is correct, but the polluter must be identified before that can happen. If the polluter cannot be identified, well, then you have a problem.
    That is where the city did not do due diligence. When the city bought the parcel, it took over all responsibility for the contamination on the site.
    As to more contamination, it was just announced that more was found.
    To sum up, in the abstract, I think few people would find fault with accessing the river. But it was in how it was done. Mayor Nosestretcher wanted a big announcement. This was it.

  28. Just a little background, for anyone interested. This is the third time the city’s owned the property. Here’s a little bio on the history of the property, from a 2009 NewsLeader story:
    “New Westminster sold the land 56 years ago to the New Westminster Harbour Commission for $1. The city’s electorate approved the sale so the commission would spend $1.25 million on pier improvements.
    Once river, the lands were reclaimed through the gradual deposit of fill.
    Overseas Transport leased the lands from the commission and built a warehouse facility and railway spurs on it. Webb and Gifford, owners of a marine machine shop, West Coast Terminals and a coal distributing company also occupied the site.
    First Capital City Development, a partnership between the provincial government and the city acquired the land and sold it for $2.2 million to a number of companies headed by Royal Pacific Development in 1987.
    The new owners proposed building eight towers—more than 860 units—on the property. Instead, the land was flipped the same day to another company for $10.5 million.
    The property, which was mortgaged by Brookfield Investment Corporation, was taken over by them in 1995.”

  29. Again, imperfect information, but we can presume from this that the people that the land was purchased from in 2008 were not the sole “persons responsible” for the contamination. My understanding of the Environmental Management Act and Case Law here (I am not a lawyer!) is that the previous owners may hold some “joint and several liability”, along with the City as previous owners, the Lessees who operated on the land (if they still exist). Not sure if Brookfield can hold liability if they took over the land through a foreclosure, someone smarter than me would have to interpret Section 45(3) and (4) of the Environmental Management Act.

    But short and sweet, the City is likely at least responsible for some of the clean up, and if “joint and several” comes into play, a municipality usually ends up with the… uh… sticky end of the excavator, simply because they have deeper pockets.

    “The law is an ass”- Charles Dickens.

  30. P&J
    If you cite case law, go no further then the coal gas building in New Westminster. This shameful story has the McPhee family being stuck with the bill for contamination left behind by the predecessor to B.C.Hydro.
    Charles Dickens was right. ” The law is an ass.” That doesn’t mean that you have to be a bigger as by walking in and taking full responsibility for remediating a property that you do not know the full details of. There might have been some historical research as to the ownership and uses of the property, but do not believe the spin that due diligence was done.
    The public was given a sales job as to what that park was going to look like. Reality, today is far different than what the City’s spin artists put forward.
    Appreciate your involvement, good discussion.

  31. Thanks to both Chris Bryan and Patrick Johnstone for providing some additional background information. Patrick, Voice is not trying to make a political issue of this, as you have claimed elsewhere. It is already a political issue. It became one as soon as it was announced that the City was buying the property and that we’d be on the hook for millions of tax dollars. We all love the idea of more greenspace in our city (we certainly need more) but turning the brownfield into a greenspace is fast eating up the supposed cost. It remains to be seen just how much park we will get for the initially projected costs.
    Thanks again for contributing to the discussion though.
    To all: let’s please keep the discussion respectful.

  32. Why are people are trying to minimize the potential risk to the environment and public from industrial waste on the pier? It reminds me of a comedy sketch I saw a while back where an Australian politician tries to downplay the impact of an oil tanker spill. It sure looks like the apologists for the pier’s environmental baggage have taken some lessons from this guy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-QNAwUdHUQ

  33. Neil,

    I am aware the Park is a political issue. What I said that got me into this conversation is:
    ‘It is also silly of Voice to suggest somehow that High Risk determination is proof that the City did not do “due diligence” in 2008.’

    I will say it one more time: to make a political issue out of the “High Risk” classification, and to use inflammatory language to describe the contamination is to do a disservice to the people working on the project when those points are not supported by the science. Clearly we also have a disagreement about what constitutes “due diligence” in a Brownfields remediation, but such is life. I happen to have been involved in numerous Environmental Site Assessments, and have read literally hundreds of them. I think I may have the experience edge on that topic, but am ready to stand corrected.

    The other issues Voice raises: Transparency, poor budgeting, the Mayor’s nose, I really can’t comment on (although I am starting to form an opinion…). You know I have a lot of support for what you do personally in the City, and many times I see Voice as being on the right side of an issue, and have said so.

    Let’s work together and stop the UBE, and make a real positive change for New Westminster.

  34. FFO: I am not trying to minimise the potential risk. I am saying the risks are known, professional engineers whose entire careers are built on managing contaminated sites are managing the project, and because of the High Risk status, the Ministry of Environment is overseeing the remediation. What more do you want?

    The contamination has been there for years. If the City hadn’t bought the land and started the remediation, the contamination would still be there 10 years from now. Instead, because the City bought the property, the contamination was found, and will be managed with the Ministry of Environment overseeing it. What more do you want?

    The City isn’t hiding the contamination, they aren’t going to build a park in such a way that the contamination continues to cause harm. They are open about the scope and type of contamination, they are managing it responsibly, and then they will build a park. What more do you want?

  35. Does anyone know what the rail companies are saying about all this? It is true the fisheries have some very serious with what is going on just ask our local MP

  36. Hello P@J,

    I’ve had the opportunity to read some of your opinions in the media on a few current issues.I have to admit after reading statements about the UBE, I find it peculiar that with this issue you are completely satisfied with the governments control and direction.

    Puzzled.

  37. P@J: You’ve made some good points and you’ve provided some interesting discussion about the pier park issue. Voice, its members and its supporters respect and encourage this kind open discussion.

    However, I’m personally taken aback by what appears to be a dismissive attitude on your part toward the taxpayers of this town — something which is evident in the following quotation from one of your comments above: “a municipality usually ends up with the… uh… sticky end of the excavator, simply because they have deeper pockets.”

    Well, those “deeper pockets” you’re talking about are your pockets and mine! And mine aren’t all that deep!

    What you seem to be saying is that it’s okay to stick the city’s taxpayers with the cost of cleaning up a site like this one. In fact, you almost seem to be chuckling about the inevitability of this happening.

    As a New Westminster taxpayer, I am very concerned by the “what’s-the-big-worry,-the-city’s-paying-for-it” attitude that seems to underlie your comment.

    No, the city’s not paying for it, the taxpayers are! That’s you and me, our neighbours and the people who run the nearby corner store.

    There is a much bigger question at the heart of this issue: Why should the over-burdened taxpayers of this town (residential and business class) always have to carry the cost of infrastructure and improvements in our community?

    In many other communities, infrastructure improvements like a major new waterfront greenspace are a side benefit from development and redevelopment of the civic landbase. This approach tends to remove the cost (or at least much of the cost) from the shoulders of the taxpayers. Just look at the lower municipal taxes in many of our nearby neighbouring municipalities.

    Respect for taxpayers, and seeking value for money spent, is something that Voice members strongly believe in. In fact, this is the essence of the discussion taking place here in relation to the pier park and it’s the root of the concern expressed by Voice.

    Environmental due diligence is definitely one component of Voice’s concern relative to the pier park. But what about the due diligence that protects the taxpayers of New Westminster and shields us from the risks taken by city officials? Our pockets are not as deep as you and some others seem to think. And that’s the real heart of the issue.

  38. PO’C:
    I think you are misinterpreting my comments. I’m just saying that in my experience, when there are multiple parties involved in a dispute where there is “joint and several liability”, the municipality is usually the loser.

    In this case, even if the City didn’t purchase the land in 2008, as a previous owner and leaser of the land, they would have likely been stuck with the lion’s share of the liability for the contamination anyway. Whether I am OK with the City’s taxpayers being stuck with the bill is irrelevant, they were likely to get stuck with the bill anyway. Maybe not a soon, but eventually. Don’t blame the City, blame the Environmental Management Act.

    Your points on fiscal prudence at the City are well made, and I take them. I am also a property owner and taxpayer. I just don’t think this issue constitutes an example of poor management of my money. We will have to disagree on that point, I suppose.

  39. This P@J seems to know what he is talking about, what does he say about our high school cemetery – who is responsible if there is claas action lawsuit from the families and user groups?

  40. One thing we will never know now is if someone else besides the taxpayer should be helping to pay for this environmental clean up. The city does not know what the final bill will be. With all do respect to taxpayers paying the bill being irrelevant I disagree with your statement as well. If the public was given a choice between the park and other pressing priorities, too many to mention here, I believe this would not have moved forward, but again we will never know. There are many points for mismanagement of our tax dollars. There are way too many variables happening at the waterfront (ie; NFPR, Patullo Bridge, encapsulation) for this project to have gone forward at this time. Remember this was all done behind closed doors on the guise of a land purchase. Our mayor is on record as say he had a vision for this the day he was first elected, so then without consultation all of a sudden it had to be done. They could have discussed this with the public way before committing to the purchase. If purchasing was a problem, the city has shown it has no problem expropriating private property. Is promising and budgeting for a whole park and only being able to deliver half (so far) good management? Yes we will agree to disagree no doubt. For myself I will wait until the final bill is in and the product delivered in the fall of 2011. Unfortunately we can’t sell this property like the government sold the fast ferries to recover at least some of our tax dollars

  41. I agree ! P@J really knows what he’s talking about, after all he works on these types of things as an intern, maybe that’s why he doesn’t care the tax payer is footing the bill, we’re paying his wages !

  42. Big plan to redevelop 125 Columbia Street are now in the works with the city planning department. I hope they research the history of this site better than they did the pier park – funeral home and gas stations dating back to 1913

  43. I am very interested in your waste “heat” energy scenario as described. Perhaps you can elaborate on the quantity of heat that is available from our combined excrement, and how exactly this thermal energy is to be captured for re-use in a hospital facility. If I am not mistaken, New Westminsters garbage is trucked to an incinerator in Burnaby which does not employ any substantial generation of energy from the combustion. Perhaps a plan to capture the hot gasses escaping from our politicians would prove a more feasible alternative to your pipe full of excrement.

  44. Anon: I never worked on any remediation project in New Westminster, nor have I earned a single dollar working for any of the parties involved in the Pier Park Project. There is no conflict of interest here. Except that I am a property tax payer in New Westminster, and an income tax payer in BC and Canada: I am paying as much for this project as you are.

    Edward, if you are really interested in how sewage waste heat can be used for a district energy unility, look up these projects:

    http://vancouver.ca/sustainability/neuTechnology.htm

    http://www.cd.gov.bc.ca/lgd/infra/library/IRR_Okanagan_College_Case_Study.pdf

    or google it yourself.

  45. Dear P@j, thank you very much for taking the time to link those articles. While I am very familiar with heat exchangers and pumps, I still question your plans feasibility. If you would more closely examine those documents yourself, especially the O.C. case study, you will find limited available thermal energy. On the last page of the O.C. case study it states proximity between the source of waste heat and the end user is critical for such projects. Both facilities still rely on natural gas boilers to augment heating, at O.C. this occurs at a temperature of +5 Celsius. As I recall your claims indicated enough thermal capacity to supply the hospital and brewery district. It is also important to note this heat is best captured from effluent undergoing anaerobic decomposition. The closest facility of this type is the Annacis Island waste treatment facility who own those large domes you see while going over the Alex Fraser bridge.

    Mr. Powell, I am indeed mistaken ! Thank you very much for digging up that nice brochure and I hope our P@J also takes a look at the literature to gain some insight into exactly how much output a relatively small facility can deliver with modern scrubbing technologies. I know another company in Port Kells also markets a modular WTE device that is sold all over North America for small towns and large industry so they can extract energy from manufacturing waste to power their operations. In some cases excess power is returned to the grid for profit. We can also evaluate the number of garbage trucks necessary to generate a certain amount of power for scale.
    Regards,

  46. EW, you came all the way from little old Princeton to help us out with our power? Gracious of you. Good luck with the Nobel committee.

    Yes, the Vancouver example is better than the Okanagan example as a demonstration of what could happen here. Indeed, this type of DEU may not provide all the energy needed, but just because a coal-fired plant could service them, doesn’t mean we should build one in Sapperton. The point is that the Mayor is thinking that the inherently unsustainable practice of burning trash (despite your Surrey buddy’s financial interests) can be greenwashed by tying it to a DEU, when clearly, the DEU is not the thing he is after. Geothermal DEUs (like was just announced in Richmond) or waste heat are viable, and sustainable, options.

  47. P@J you are a faux environmentalist.

    Toxic blob is nothing to be concerned about because of the provincial government oversight of remediation

    WTE is no good because the federal government oversight regulates emissions

    And now Poop energy is the “sustainable way” to supply *A* New West building with heat.

    You are a crackpot Environmentalist !

    All I can say is –

    Flush it while it’s hot !

  48. This is the problem with a forum like this. Someone cowardly hiding behind anonymity puts quotes in my mouth, then criticises me for them. You keep banging at the strawman, but you are more like the lion.

    I did not say “Toxic blob is nothing to be concerned about because of the provincial government oversight of remediation”. I said the High Risk classification is nothing to be worried about, because all it means is that there will be more government oversight on the remediation. DNAPL near the river is something to be concerned about, and it appears that everyone involved is doing everything they can to clean it up.

    Nor have I ever said “WTE is no good because the federal government oversight regulates emissions”. I am opposed to incinerating trash because it is an unsustainable practice that promotes other unsustainable practices. My position (and that of the NWEP) on the incinerator is pretty well spelled out here:
    http://www.metrovancouver.org/services/solidwaste/planning/Lists/FeedbackForm/DispForm.aspx?ID=31

    Anonymous opinions are pretty worthless, but I’m curious: how do you differentiate “Crackpot Environmentalist” from “Faux Environmentalist”? I’m updating my cv, want to be accurate.

  49. The important thing about quoting a story is knowing the facts of the story.
    “the city’s utility, which services about 1,600 homes and businesses” – wow thats like a fraction of a percent of Vancouver.

    “Next March, Hydro will raise electricity rates across the province to about $87 per megawatt hour.”

    …the cities utility “is able to offer a price of $84 per kilowatt hour”

    Do you know the difference between a megawatt and a kilowatt ?

    The journalist who wrote the story obviously doesn’t, and neither do you or otherwise you would have noticed the magnitude of the error.

  50. Oh, and lets not forget

    “this system is augmented by high efficiency natural gas boilers. Using natural gas for backup and peaking ensures reliability and competitive costs.”

    Competitive after the Hydro raises the rates !

  51. I was reading in the news paper that they are going to spend 1 million dollars to put in a barrier system. 1 million dollars, and its the size of a small residential lot. Just how long is this barrier supposed to last anyways ? And are there going to be any tests further down the line to make sure its actually working ?

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