A group of protestors have set up a roadblock in the Turtle Valley, blocking Arrow trucks from accessing land upon which the company plans to apply biosolids from Kamloops.
One truck had been turned away as of Monday morning. Turtle Valley resident Connie Seaward said the group of between eight and 10 people and a few vehicles will continue to allow through local traffic at English Road, located near the Turtle Valley Bison Company, but will block Arrow trucks until the group’s concerns have been addressed.
The group also held a protest with between 50 and 60 people outside City Hall in Kamloops on Saturday.
“We’re just being ignored,” Seaward told KTW.
Arrow was contracted by the city to deal with its biosolids in the short-term, as it continues to work on finding a long-term solution.
Arrow initially intended to transport 23,000 tonnes of the city’s biosolids to Talking Rock Golf Course for construction of a nine-hole expansion. Those plans are on hold, however, after the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band ran into permitting issues.
The new plan is to mix the city’s biosolids into an enhanced, nutrient rich soil to reclaim a piece of previously logged property owned by the Turtle Valley Bison Company. That plan rankled some area residents, who organized, openly opposed the plan and have since taken matters further — including Saturday’s protest and Monday’s roadblock.
Arrow Environmental Services regional manager Jeff Mayer said police were notified about the roadblock.
“They intend to block the transporting company from going down the road; they’re allowing local traffic through and they said it’s their intention to stay there until an injunction is served upon them to move,” said Chase RCMP Sgt. Barry Kennedy, adding that if an injunction is served, he doesn’t see there being any issues.
Arrow is in the process of doing preparatory work on the site to which it has been blocked, mixing biosolids with native soils to create a final product that is nine per cent biosolids and can provide nutrients to the ground for several years. Arrow noted the project has been thoroughly vetted and approved by the Ministry of Environment.
“Arrow respects that there’s a diversity of opinions on projects like this and we respect individual opinion,” Mayer said. “But, at the end of the day, we do have obligations that we need to meet for our partner, contractually.”
Asked if he is concerned, Kamloops Mayor Ken Christian said city hall is always concerned when people protest. But, he said, part of the city’s contract with Arrow requires the company to comply with the law.
“Whatever their concerns are, they have to be sorted out in accordance with the law related to biosolid applications,” Christian said.
The mayor reached out to protesters on Monday and Seaward said she is waiting on more information requested about testing and impacts on waterways.
Mayer said application won’t follow for at least a month or two. All the soil the company has been mixing needs to first be tested.
“We’re just going to keep pushing forward,” he said.