Crofton Community Advisory Forum Meeting Minutes
Sept 13, 2016 – Crofton Community Center
Catalyst: Brian Houle, Gerald Crespeigne
PPWC Catalyst: Steve Landygo, Tiffany Hooper
BC MOE: Earle Plain
Crofton and area Residents: Jen Hlannon, Wayne Kingham, Harry Wynnesmith, Bob Mayers
Special Guests (Timber West): Monica Bailey, Steve Lorimer (Consultant for TW)
Our mandate is to review and make recommendations to address concerns regarding environment, health, safety and other issues relevant to Crofton Mill operations and the surrounding communities that may be brought before us, and by so doing to build and maintain a solid relationship between Catalyst Paper Crofton Division and its neighbours.
1) Agenda Approval:
Without General Manager and Kraft Mill Manager present, discussion about the Charter and about the open house deferred to November meeting. Will add 2015 Ambient air report and Earle Plain brought the BC Lung Association 2016 State of the Air report to review and fill out agenda.
2) Minutes Approval:
Minutes from May 10th meeting require modifications relating to the emissions from PB4 and the improvement gained from modifications to the Electrostatic Precipitator and hog washing process in place at the mill. Once modified, will send out again and acceptance at Nov. mtg.
3) Mill general update: (Brian Houle)
- Recent interest in acquisition of Catalyst Paper by firm “KGI”. Representatives of KGI attended the Canadian operations of Catalyst Paper and in fact were at the Crofton site yesterday (Sept 12). All Canadian divisions have been visited and the American sites to be visited in coming weeks.
- June major mill turn-around (maintenance shut down) included 20 days of work on Recovery Boiler #4. The key job was replacement of economizer tube (1/2 of the economizer tube bank) bank and was needed to avoid the many shut downs that related to tube leaks from this section of tubes. Many millions of dollars invested and improvements are already being observed relating to boiler performance.
- New Human Resources Manager, Richard Demchuk, joining Crofton Division in coming weeks.
- Chief Financial Officer (CFO) recently announced his departure from company.
- Halalt First Nation has dropped the 2 lawsuits filed earlier this year and related to both a land claim and to technology infringement issue. There is still one suit open from a third party that was co-complainant with the Halalt and this is still being contested by Catalyst.
4) Mill Environmental update (Brian Houle)
- Key environmental issue since last meeting in May relates to the liquor/condensate release which occurred on August 13th. In total 50 residents of Crofton were provided follow-up and every resident in the trailer court adjacent to the mill property were approached. On basis of magnitude of issue of deposits on automobiles and other exposed items in resident’s yards, a team of employees were dispatched to the trailer court and cleaned all the vehicles and fixtures that were impacted. In response to this reported release from the mill, BC MOE has provided Catalyst Paper with a “Warning Letter”. Residents from beyond the trailer court were provided personal follow-up on a one by one basis.
- A key focus at the mill currently relates to water that both the Town of Crofton and the mill depend on – Lake Cowichan and the Cowichan River. With minimal snow pack and subsequent drought conditions, earlier this year the inventory of water in Lake Cowichan was a full month worse than 2015. In 2014 and in 2015 in response to low water inventory Catalyst worked with the many stakeholders and landed on a release flow from the lake of 4.5 cms (cubic meters per second) on August 8th. A release flow of 4.5 cms is the minimum flow in the river before the mill is impacted and from required monitoring of the river, appears to be enough flow to maintain fish and fish habitat from a survival perspective. This year, with much lower water inventory in Lake Cowichan, the low base flow of 4.5 cms began over 2 months earlier on May 30th. In response, Catalyst has invested about $500,000 to ensure enough water available to sustain the Cowichan River and all the values that stakeholders depend on (including domestic water to Town of Crofton and process water for mill). Authorizations are all in hand to allow Catalyst to pump 4.5 cms of water from Lake Cowichan, over the weir and into the Cowichan River. This action will sustain the many values in the River but will in turn, bring risk to the lake, if the lake level is reduced to below empty – something that has never have happened before. Due to the presence of a species at risk – Vancouver Lamprey, extra care will be needed by the qualified environmental professional (Madrone Environmental). Monitoring and reporting on impacts to Lake Cowichan is a key requirement imposed by the regulators – Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations from the province and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
In response to Mill Environmental update, Jen Hlannon voiced concern for how the August release event was handled. Jen was provided a contact name from BC MOE (Bryan Vroom) to allow further dialogue on this matter.
5) Timber West Logistics Facility Expansion (Monica Bailey)
- Upgrades to the existing log handling facility are now complete and operating
- Upgrades included large paved pads for log storage and a debarking system
- Key benefit of debarking system is the prevention of sea water from contacting the bark – dryer salt free hog for Crofton mill to utilize.
- Added benefit to Timber West is the prevention of Teredo Worm damage which happens when logs are left floating in the ocean.
- A significant earth berm has been put in place to ensure the noise related to the log handling facility does not impact local residents at their homes.
- Debarking operation anticipated operating from 6:00 AM to 5:00 PM only and double shifts could occur from time to time.
- There will be two sets of staff running the logistics facility, Timber West and an independent contractor.
- Steve Landygo of PPWC commented that PPWC does not support raw log exports and was concerned about the potential issue of increased truck traffic that may result
- Added benefit of logistics facility noted as less wood material depositing on ocean floor – with less logs placed in ocean
- Community member commented that when logs get loose, they present significant navigational hazard to boaters and at times pile up at the Crofton boat launch. An old practice of having easily visible flags attached to dead heads was stopped and request was that Timber West provide those flags to allow marking of stray logs.
- Many questions were asked of Timber West and a commitment was made to provide more details at a later date.
6) CAF Charter Review
- Deferred to next meeting.
7) Open House
- Also deferred to next mtg.
While not on agenda, copies of the 2015 Catalyst Crofton Division Ambient Air Report were circulated and Earle Plain circulated a copy of the 2016 BC Lung Association State of the air report for BC.
8) Public Questions
- Question asked – why mill emissions appear worse/more emissions lately
- At time of meeting, closure of Crofton Road for bridge repair has resulted in heavy traffic through Crofton – until Crofton Road is re-opened. Comment at meeting of concern for extra traffic.
- South Gate access to mill property was highlighted as a mess and in need of cleaning and aesthetic improvements as it reflects on the town in general as well as the mill.
9) Agenda Items for next meeting –
Next meeting to cover the Charter, Open House planning and group suggested the EEM Cycle 7 report become part of a separate meeting – given how long it took to review
Cycle 6 EEM a few years back. Also need to pin down 2017 meeting dates at next meeting.
CAF meetings for remainder of 2016 noted below.
Meeting location: Crofton Community Center
Meeting time 6:00-8:00 PM and on first Tuesday of month as follows
2016 meeting dates are: Feb 9, May 10, Aug 9, and Nov 8
Adjourned at 8:00 PMMinutes prepared by Brian Houle