Tracey Deller

Campbell River pole plant complaints earn call from RCMP

Persistent calls to the city’s bylaw enforcement line prompted a phone call from the RCMP Friday afternoon

Complaints to city hall over the pole peeler plant got so out of hand that the city was forced to call the RCMP last week said the city clerk.

Connie Cawley, who lives across the street from the Duncan Bay Road pole peeler, said her persistent calls to the city’s bylaw enforcement line prompted a phone call from the RCMP Friday afternoon.

Cawley said she was home last week recovering from dental surgery, trying to relax and drown out the noise from the pole peeler. She said the high-pitch screech was like having “a screw” go through her head.

“By Wednesday I just lost it,” Cawley said. “I could not sit in the house and have peace and quiet without having the radio and the TV on to drown out the pole plant.”

In a moment of anger, Cawley said she phoned the city and asked “what do I have to do? Get a gun and shoot someone?”

Cawley said Peter Wipper, the city clerk, told her to not call back because she was impeding the work of staff.

Cawley was not dissuaded and said on Friday morning – deciding it was her right – again called city hall.

“I started calling every half an hour,” Cawley said. “By the third call, it went to Mr. Wipper. He told me I was not allowed to call the bylaw line because I was causing a distraction at city hall and he said he would call the RCMP.”

Cawley said the next thing she knew, she was getting a call from Sgt. Troy Beauregard, who warned her she could be arrested for harassment and uttering threats if she continued to call the city.

Cawley said she hasn’t been scared off and intends on calling again.

“If they feel like they have to come and arrest me, they can come and arrest me,” Cawley said. “I was not uttering threats on Friday, I was very nice. But I admit the day before I did. But I’ve been pushed to that. We’ve been pushed to utter insanity.”

Wipper, who confirmed the RCMP were called but would not comment on any investigation, said the city understands Cawley’s – and other residents’ – concerns.

“We’d like to see the issue resolved as soon as possible,” Wipper said. “Calling on a continuous basis will not change the process of the plant undertaking measurements to reduce the noise.”

The pole plant is in violation of the city’s public nuisance bylaw and will implement noise reduction measures recommended by a sound consultant. The owner, Northern Pressure Treated Wood, has until April 27 to produce an application for the modifications.

Once the permit has been issued, the owner is expected to shut down the facility for two to three weeks to make the changes.

Wipper said although the owner has violated the noise bylaw, the city has not issued any fines because council chose to work with the plant owner to obtain compliance through modifications.

Cawley said the pole plant meets that definition and wants the city to listen to her case.

Tracey Deller, co-owner of Blue Spruce Home Park, located beside the pole plant, said it’s not the intent of residents to upset anyone at the city, they just want the pole peeler relocated somewhere further away from residential properties.

“I’m so sorry if anyone in this area has upset the city,” Deller said. “If anyone is being unreasonable, it’s because we’ve been driven to this. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

Cawley said she was pushed to “utter insanity” last week because she couldn’t rest in her own home due to the noise.

“I just couldn’t take it anymore,” Cawley said. “We have a custom-built home and we have really good insulation. If we can hear it through that, something’s really wrong.”