The view from Port Edward of black smoking coming from Ridley Island Industrial Site. Contributed photo

Port apologizes for Ridley fire

Full effects of environmental impact unknown

The Port of Prince Rupert apologizes to the community for how it handled the controlled burn on Ridley Island last month.

Waste materials that burned from June 22-27 included treated wood waste from pilings that were part of the old Odin Dock that was once located in Cow Bay.

In a press release, Ken Veldman, director of public affairs, explained that the dock was 80 years old and sent to the port’s disposal site on Ridley Island in 2015 “due to an internal misclassification of the material as organic waste suitable for burning. Based on that error of classification, it was considered to be suitable for burning in compliance with provincial policy and industry practice.”

RELATED: SMOKY SIGHTS FROM RIDLEY ISLAND

The port was burning materials for site clearing in preparation for the new logistics facility by Ray-Mont Logistics. The actual environmental impact remains to be seen, but the port is cooperating with the BC Ministry of Environment to determine the extent of the damage.

“PRPA (Prince Rupert Port Authority) did not discover the error until after the burning had occurred, but acknowledges and apologizes to community residents for its mistake,” Veldman said.

Despite the outcome of the ministry’s investigation, the port admits its oversight was not in line with best practices in environmental risk management and will review and improve its disposal policies and procedures to ensure it follows provincial objectives moving forward.

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