Orica II

Seldom am I impressed with delegation presentations to council. Facts and figures are not always correct, lack research, and lean, on occasion, too far from the actual truth.

But not so at the April 14 presentations to the council of East Luther Grand Valley. Word for word, from the mouth of one, come the thoughts of many.

“I would like to thank everyone who came out tonight. Sometimes I stand in my yard looking at the night sky, and I am amazed at how beautiful this place is. I see tonight that I am not alone. I have had opportunities in my life to see and live many places, but I am still here because I know that this place is so exceptional.

“That sort of exception is not worth risking. Human life is short; history is long. If one thing goes wrong with this concept as presented by Orica, our predecessors will shake their heads at what short sighted imbeciles lived here.

“Is it prophetic that the residents of this community were saved from a bad investment during the last depression next to this very site? That was the concept of turning peat into antifreeze, and its memory can still be seen in the concrete foundations at the old landfill. Its legacy gave us a poorly sited landfill that took half a century to correct.

“This township is the top of our world at 1,550 feet above sea level. We are the caretakers of all water that flows downstream and downhill. There is nowhere else on earth to run, and now is the time to say enough to stupid ideas and stand up for our convictions. Scientifically we have been left in a state of “in statu nascendi,” sitting between a world we love and value and a world a company wants for its own ends. Of course, science is only a tool that often tells you what you already know is right in your heart. There is no sound science to prove success.

“There is science used to prop up a calculated risk of failure, but that is called speculation. 

“Over the last year I have addressed council with endless questions and received poor answers or no answers. I have read reports I consider shameful and an abuse of science in an attempt to prop up a transparently stupid choice location. Simple questions like ‘Where would the copious amounts of water needed to fight a fire come from?’ and ‘Where will it go?’ remained unanswered.

“I continue to hear it is ‘just fertilizer and safe.’ In Toulouse, France, they thought that too, until one day the plan was found to be flawed and 30 people died, 2,500 were injured, the river had a 78 per cent increase in nitrates, and the material damage cost was between 1.5- to 2.3-billion Euros.

“The Toulouse site was three kilometres from the left bank of the Garonne River on a 70-hectare site, and the amount of ammonium nitrate that exploded was 30 to 40 tonnes. We have 60 tonnes in just one hopper and apparently 40 tonnes on the road each day.

“The investigation cited poor land use planning, inspection, management, and human error as the cause. I believe this describes my neighbour who only provided a poor emergency plan after this community demanded it. They were not invited;  they invaded.

“Is it fair to say that Orica asked council to renew an expired temporary permit for a 3.95-acre satellite site with no buildings and then proceeded to build an industrial building complex with a 12-acre footprint? Is that not deceptive behaviour on the part of Orica, or did council always know this to be their intent?

“This would appear to be back-dooring of the rules that you expect the rest of the community to follow. If you condone this, you condone anarchy.”

I am now out of space for this week, but stay tuned for the balance of this delegation’s representation in next week’s Orica III.

Take care, ’cause we care.       




Barrie Hopkins