So let me get this straight. Council, after passing a motion last fall to move the asphalt plant by June 1 and then telling us all winter long (while they enjoyed a three-month Olympic hiatus from council meetings) that while June 1 might not be doable, the ultimate goal remained RELOCATION of the asphalt plant and then telling us last month that we could expect more information about RELOCATION to be shared in May, held a closed-door meeting last week and voted to move the asphalt plant by 150 metres, force some upgrades and introduce a clean air bylaw.
My initial reaction to hearing this news was one of shock and disbelief. "No," I said. "We still need to see a more detailed report on the possible alternate sites; there's a council meeting and an open house. I've been assured that the priority is still to relocate the plant."
Turns out the joke is on me.
While the addition of a new clean air bylaw is something that should be implemented regardless of this situation, I cannot believe that our mayor and council have decided to move the plant 150 metres and think that because it will not be "visible" to any of the residences, they have solved the problem. Seriously? Yeah, because that's what we are concerned about... visibility.
Oh but there will be upgrades to the plant (it's still not clear who is paying for those upgrades or for the slight shove down the hill) and ambient air quality testing will be completed. Who the hell wants to live in a neighbourhood where the air has to be tested to see if it's safe to breathe? Shouldn't that be a given in Whistler?
Please don't insult us any further by calling this a "relocation" of the plant. One hundred and fifty metres is not relocation.
I read with interest that there will also be rezoning of the new site. Great. So the zoning will be in place that will allow the plant to stay there... forever. Wonderful. Thank you, mayor and council, for that. Are you sure you're clear on the zoning this time around? Because you certainly did not seem to be last time around. Nor did your staff.
I cannot express how upsetting this is. We were led to believe there would be a more detailed staff report, an information open house, etc. And then a meeting was held, behind closed doors, and a decision was made. Our esteemed leaders did not even have the courage to debate this in public.
Shame on each and every one of you.
Every step of this process has been infuriating, to say the least. And regardless of whether or not you are a Cheakamus Crossing purchaser, every single resident of Whistler should be embarrassed by our government's lack of leadership.