Pole plant neighbours from Duncan Bay and Gordon roads protest the plant’s operation on Monday.

Campbell River pole plant opponents catch protest bug

A group of angry homeowners carried signs condemning the pole peeler

Not to be outdone by the taxpayer revolt, neighbours living near the pole peeler plant on Duncan Bay road staged their own protest Monday.

A group of angry homeowners carried signs condemning the pole peeler, which it says has destroyed their neighbourhood.

“It’s ruing our property values, it needs to move,” says Tracey Deller, co-owner of Blue Spruce Home Park which is next door to the pole peeler. “This isn’t normal industrial noise. We have a saw mill up here, we’re used to industrial noise and this isn’t industrial noise.”

Corinne Matheson, who owns Mystic Woods Nursery up the road from the plant, likens the high-pitch screech of the peeler to “Chinese water torture” while Connie Cawley, who lives across the road says the sound is like “having a screw go through my head.”

Duncan Bay Road neighbours have appeared before city council several times, angry that the city allowed the pole peeler to locate so close to a residential neighbourhood.

Deller says she spoke to the owner of the facility, Northern Pressure Treated Wood, and was told the site was the only industrial piece of land the city showed him.

Deller says she asked owner Mike McCollough if he would consider re-locating the plant and got no response.

On Monday, frustrations boiled over and Deller says neighbours decided to stage a demonstration just outside the pole peeler gates – once at 8 a.m. at the start of the work day and again at 4 p.m. as workers would be leaving.

That didn’t pan out the way Deller had hoped, as crews had already packed up and left for the day when the protesters arrived.

Nonetheless, Deller says the group will keep ploughing ahead with its demonstrations.

“We’ve all got these signs and we plan to go around the streets downtown and around city hall to try to get some attention as to what’s going on,” she said.

The group was also planning to join Campbell River tax revolters in a protest before Tuesday’s city council meeting, after the Mirror went to press.

Deller says on Monday the group received lots of support from passing motorists and has no plans on giving up the fight.

The group has already hired a lawyer which has sent the city a letter to put them on notice that the residents are unhappy and could choose to slap the city with a lawsuit. Deller says they have until July 23 to take legal action.

“We don’t want to sue the city, but the option is there,” Deller says. “People think taxes are high now. Add a class action law suit – my God. We want to work with the city to move the pole plant.”

The city, for its part, has requested the owner of the pole peeler to implement sound abatement options which McCollough has agreed to do.

The company has until April 27 to produce an application for the modifications and once the permit is issued, will shut down the plant for two to three weeks to make the changes.