Environmental and Public Health Orders were issued on Friday, March 16th by the Government of Alberta involving a number of sites within and near the Domtar area (north of the Yellowhead Highway between 50th Street and Victoria Trail).
I participated in the two telephone town halls and one public information session that were facilitated immediately following the announcement to answer residents’ questions.
There have since been more questions and comments from residents that may now warrant an additional public meeting. I will be working with the City of Edmonton, the local MLA and Alberta Environment and Parks to request that staff from each relevant department attend an additional meeting in the near future to provide updates. I’ll be working with the Homesteader Community League to ensure that residents are informed ahead of time of the details of this meeting. For more information, you can contact my office or the Homesteader Community League.
I provided a brief public statement on the issue the day of the announcement from the Provincial Government (below). As updates become available, I will provide an additional statement.
The contact numbers below have been provided for residents who have questions:
More information can be found on the Government of Alberta website
MARCH 16, 2017
COUNCILLOR AARON PAQUETTE
RE: DOMTAR SITE
- I know this site has been a well-known area of concern for a number of years and that there have been efforts made over that time to gather the necessary information to inform the need for any further reclamation.
- We know that a number of contaminants have been found on and near the site that the Domtar plant was operating on and there is further testing being initiated at this time.
- I am concerned by the current situation and find any lack of due diligence having occurred very troubling. However, it’s positive to see action being taken to ensure the health and safety of residents is not at risk.
- The City of Edmonton Administration has been clear and unwavering in following the necessary rules and processes related to the development of this site and has ensured me of their commitment to take any necessary actions to comply with provincial orders and to mitigate potential impacts for the neighbourhood.
- The City of Edmonton relies on the province to enforce environmental and health standards and in turn, Edmontonians rely on City Administration and Council to approve development only when deemed safe. All of these levels need to be working for residents to be able to make decisions about where to live without having to worry about dangers to their health and safety.
- At this time, the information available appears to conclude no evidence of risk to residential properties or human health outside of the affected sites, which are slated to be fenced off according to the enforcement orders from the province.
- I understand that more sampling will be done in the area by the provincial government to get a more comprehensive understanding of the contaminants in the soil on the site and in the surrounding area. Once the results of these tests are examined, we can get a better idea of any potential risks to residents and work needing to be done.
- My preference is certainly to have the area thoroughly tested and residents kept fully informed, rather than sweep the issue under the rug.
- There is information forthcoming from Alberta Health Services and our office will work to connect residents with the appropriate contacts who can answer their questions and keep them informed.
- I have been staying in close contact with our city’s administration and my provincial counterparts as this has come to light and I will be reaching out to check in with residents and will be following the conversations taking place during the coming public telephone and community meetings.