Turtle Valley protesters aren’t taking any biosolids from Kamloops, having set up a blockade to keep trucks carrying the treated sewage from accessing its Chase area destination.
As of Monday afternoon, April 29, approximately five people remained at the protest camp set up on English Road, just off Squilax Turtle Valley Road. Their goal: to prevent Arrow Transportation from delivering truckloads of the sewage from reaching the Turtle Valley Bison Company, where it was to be mixed into an enhanced, nutrient-rich soil to reclaim a piece of previously logged property more than 20 hectares in size.
One truck had already been turned away that morning, and Turtle Valley resident Connie Seaward said the protesters will continue to block Arrow trucks until the group’s concerns have been addressed.
The protest group said they received a visit from Arrow management as well as Chase RCMP.
“They intend to block the transporting company from going down the road; they’re allowing local traffic through and they said it’s their intention to stay there until an injunction is served upon them to move,” said Chase Sgt. Barry Kennedy, adding that if an injunction is obtained, he doesn’t see there being any issues.
A larger group of about 60 people were at Kamloops City Hall on Saturday, April 27, to voice their concerns about the proposed use of biosolids near Chase.
Arrow Environmental Services regional manager Jeff Mayer told Kamloops This Week police had been notified about the roadblock.
Arrow is in the process of doing preparatory work on the site that has been blocked, mixing biosolids with native soils to create a final product that is nine per cent biosolids and can provide nutrients to the ground for several years. Arrow noted the project has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the Ministry of Environment.
“Arrow respects that there’s a diversity of opinions on projects like this and we respect individual opinion,” Mayer said. “But, at the end of the day, we do have obligations that we need to meet for our partner, contractually.”
Asked if he is concerned, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said city hall is always concerned when people protest. But, he said, part of the city’s contract with Arrow requires the company to comply with the law.
“Whatever their concerns are, they have to be sorted out in accordance with the law related to biosolid applications,” Christian said.
The mayor reached out to protesters on Monday and Seaward said she is waiting on more information requested about testing and impacts on waterways.
Mayer said application of the biosolids won’t follow for at least a month or two. All the soil the company has been mixing needs to first be tested.
“We’re just going to keep pushing forward,” he said.
With files from Kamloops This Week.