Councillor defends ‘monster’

A new log peeler operation that has raised the ire of several Duncan Bay Road residents is the beginning of new economic opportunities for the city said Coun. Ziggy Stewart.

A new log peeler operation that has raised the ire of several Duncan Bay Road residents is the beginning of new economic opportunities for the city said Coun. Ziggy Stewart.

“This is the start of forestry jobs and investment to come to Campbell River,” Stewart said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The log peeler plant is being assembled on an industrial lot at 5301 Duncan Bay Rd. and nearby neighbours are fuming.

Connie Cawley, who lives across the road from the vacant lot, is appalled the city allowed the operation to be located close to so many homes.

“You people have unleashed an uncontrollable monster in our neighbourhood,” Cawley said.

“What the lot has become is a travesty. You people are willing to destroy our neighbourhood, devalue our property, jeopardize our health for the sake of a dollar.

“Did you take a minute to consider the area and the people who live there?”

The lot was purchased by Northern Pressure Treated Wood Ltd. in late August after its lease on property in Sayward expired.

The company packed up its operation and found a new home in Campbell River.

Stewart acknowledged residents do have some questions that can’t be answered right away but at the same time, said the operation will be a good thing for Campbell River.

“This company was looking for a place to invest and I had the good fortune to meet with the investors. They are genuine in terms of their attempts to make the business fit in with that neighbourhood.

“If we had told them to go away it would just be another story to highlight that Campbell River is not business friendly.”

Cawley said her neighbourhood is not the right place for the type of business Stewart is trying to attract.

She says her property will lose its value with such an invasive operation so close to her home.

“The noise from the debarker is insanely loud and it apparently drives animals crazy,” Cawley said. “People in Sayward say the horrific noise can be heard five miles away. We’ll also hear the back-up beepers from the loaders all day long and dust will also be an issue.”

Stewart said the owners plan to build a large berm around the property to alleviate the noise.

“It’s hard to keep everyone happy in a case like this,” Stewart said. “But there will be huge spin-off from this.”

Cawley sees it as one neighbourhood having to suffer at the city’s expense.

“You sold us out and slapped us in the face, we won’t forget there’s an election coming up,” Cawley said. “This is not the way to bring business and people to town.”

Former Sayward resident, Wanda Williams, also spoke to council on Tuesday and confirmed Cawley’s concerns.

Williams said a lot of people in Sayward were more than pleased to see the operation leave town.

Williams and her husband lived close to the peeler and her husband, who worked nightshifts, had difficulty trying to sleep during the day because of all the noise.

“We have since moved to Campbell River and we were so glad to say goodbye to that peeler,” Williams said. “The smell was offensive, it was to the point that people couldn’t sit outside when it was operating. I know people who just went crazy.”

She said she also witnessed several people try to leave Sayward to escape the operation but were unable to sell their homes.

Williams also provided council with an audio recording of the high-pitched squeal the peeler plant emits.

Mayor Charlie Cornfield said he did not have any information on the operation and there was not much council could do at this point in time.

“It’s not something this council cooked up or did, it’s the owner.”