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Help could be on the way for pole peeler critics

Critics of a controversial pole peeler are accusing the city of allowing the plant owner to operate illegally while the regional district may consider calling in a mediator to settle the dispute.

Tracey Deller, backed by a full council chamber of supporters Tuesday night, said the city incorrectly issued a development permit which allowed Northern Pressure Treated Wood to relocate its pole peeler operation from Sayward to Duncan Bay Road.

Deller, co-owner of the Blue Spruce Home Park, which is next door to the pole peeler, says the high-pitch screech of the peeler is driving her insane and the plant should never have been there in the first place.

“A provincial government act has been broken by the City of Campbell River, the permit was done wrong, it’s incomplete,” Deller says.

She says the Local Government Act of March 21,2012, states a development permit application must include several pieces of information including a written statement of intent and how the development will benefit the neighbourhood.

Deller says the city’s land use department told her not at all that information was collected in the case of the pole peeler.

But Ron Neufeld, city operations manager, said all the city’s “development permits were processed correctly” and added it’s not a simple process.

Ross Blackwell, city land use manager, said the application “absolutely had all the information required to process a form and character permit.”

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, the entourage of Duncan Bay and Gordon Road residents appealed to the Strathcona Regional District, pleading their case in front of the Committee of the Whole board.

“Our physical and mental health and our well-being is being threatened by the pole peeler,” Deller said. “This noise drives us crazy.”

Deller said some of the residents (who live outside the city boundaries) have also been experiencing breathing problems they attribute to the dust generated by the plant.

Residents also have traffic concerns surrounding the logging trucks making their way to and from the pole peeler.

“We’ve been battling this alone and we are your taxpaying citizens,” Deller told the regional directors. “We believe you have a responsibility here. We can’t continue to live like this.”

Brenda Leigh, director for Area C (Oyster Bay), was sympathetic.

“I don’t know if the City of Campbell River took into account your needs but if they didn’t, it doesn’t seem fair,” Leigh said.

“Obviously your needs are not being met.”

Leigh then put forward a notice of motion that she will be asking the regional district directors to approve a request to the provincial ministry of community, sport and cultural development to send in a mediator to the Strathcona Regional District to work with the pole peeler neighbours.

That motion will be considered at the Committee of the Whole meeting next month.

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