City of Campbell River tells pole peeling plant to cut the noise

Decision was made to request the owner implement the sound consultant’s recommendations

The owner of the pole peeling plant on Duncan Bay road has been asked by the city to implement noise reduction measures identified in a sound consultants report.

“Our office has spoken to the plant owner (Northern Pressure Treated Wood Ltd.) by telephone and we will send a letter outlining council’s request,” said city clerk Peter Wipper. “The city is awaiting a response from the plant owner, which will determine timelines for action.”

The sound consultant’s recommendations include reducing the area of the log in-feed and out-feed openings in the debarker; enclosing log in-feed and out-feed openings with insulated tunnels; and installing a series of flexible vinyl curtains along the tunnels.

Mike McCollough, president of Northern Pressure Treated Wood, hinted earlier in the week that his company has already done enough and has no intentions of implementing any of the recommendations in BKL Consultants’ report.

“We trust that…the City of Campbell River will agree that the financial burden already imposed by the City of Campbell, by asking for a noise level report, is sufficient,” McCollough said. “If further measures to abate the noise levels are requested by the City of Campbell River it will definitely scare all existing businesses already operating in the City of Campbell River and it will chase away any potential investors looking to set up in the region.”

Connie Cawley, who lives across the street from the pole peeler plant, said the message is coming through loud and clear.

“It’s pretty clear the guy who owns the pole plant is not going to do anything about it,” Cawley said. “It sounds like that’s his final say. He basically said he’s not doing anything else. This is like a horse and pony show.

Nothing happens.”

Duncan Bay Road neighbours filled the gallery at Tuesday’s council meeting eager to hear council’s response to the sound consultant’s report requested by the city.

But council simply received the report, and proceeded to move in-camera (not open to the public) where the decision was made to request the owner implement the sound consultant’s recommendations.

“I expected to get some answers,” Cawley said just after the meeting wrapped up. “It just didn’t happen. It was a waste of our time.”

Corinne Matheson said the neighbours had hoped to get some answers to determine their next move.

“It seems this has turned into a political matter, where it takes weeks and weeks to get any answers,” Matheson said. “In the meantime, we all have to suffer listening to that noise all day. I’m sure if this noise was heard by everyone in Campbell River and at City Hall, something would be done a lot sooner.”

Neighbours describe the noise from the pole peeler as a high pitch screech.

The plant has been in operation since Jan. 23 and since that time, City Hall has been inundated with nearly 45 noise complaints.

The pole plant is operating Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on a 22.5 acre lot zoned heavy industrial but is near residential homes.

Homeowners near the plant, including in the Blue Spruce Home Park, are planning a neighbourhood public meeting for next Tuesday.

Options such as suing the city for loss of property value are up for discussion.