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Taking to the street against 'sewage sludge' Nicola Valley residents bring protest to city

By Mel Rothenburger
June 23, 2015 10:29 A.M.
PLACARD-WAVING protesters demonstrated on Victoria Street. (Mel Rothenburger photo)

About 40 protesters took over the 500 block of Victoria Street on Friday to protest the storage of biosolids in the Nicola Valley.

Carrying placards that said Science Says No to Sewage Sludge, Respect First Nations Moratorium and Bye Bye Jackie — the latter an apparent reference to Fraser-Nicola MLA Jackie Tegart — they chanted and mingled on the street for several hours as RCMP and passersby watched.

Tegart has been under fire for not taking a strong enough stand on the biosolids issue. Kamloops MLAs Terry Lake and Todd Stone stopped to talk with the protesters Friday.

Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Band said the protest was organized to continue bringing attention to the biosolids issue near Merritt as well as to lend support to concerns about the Blackwell Dairy biosolids operation in Kamloops.

Ruth Madsen, who is working with Barnhartvale residents on the Blackwell issue, joined the rally, as did Neskonlith Band chief Judy Wilson.

Earlier this week, Tegart and  B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak announced the provincial government will establish a technical working group to conduct a scientific review of the use of biosolids in the Nicola Valley.

The review will focus on developing a monitoring and testing regime for biosolids, reviewing the effectiveness of the current requirement for a land application plan, and reviewing research on how biosolids impact wildlife and determine if any monitoring or testing is required.

The working group will include staff from the ministry, First Nations Health Authority and Interior Health Authority. An advisory committee will oversee the working group.

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