Letter to Community re Richardsons (Newspaper headlines 1975)



Newspaper Headlines in 1975…..

Major Explosion Rocks SouthSlope of the City of North Vancouver…hundreds flee and are evacuated from their Homes.
Explosion heard three miles away. Concrete weighing over l00 lbs. rains down on residential housing district just meters away from grain elevator. Hot embers as far away as Ridgeway Annex School.

Yes, this did happen when one of the grain terminals in the City of North Vancouver blew up in l975. How often do you hear fire trucks on the low level road? Wonder Why? There have been many fires since 1975 but this is not for public knowledge.

What people don’t understand is that most organic substances become highly explosive when dried and dispensed on an air suspension system, hence, wheat and dust are highly explosive and dangerous.

It’s a fact that there have been 129 grain elevator explosions
in the last ten years and over 503 in Canada and the U.S.A. since 1976.
These resulted in the injury of 677 people and nearly 200 fatalities.

It is also a fact that the risks of an explosion in a grain elevator cannot ever be entirely eliminated.
Coal dust can cause similar problems and has to be sprayed with water to inhibit combustion.
After the fire and grain dust explosion in l975, the City of North Vancouver introduced a new zoning category, known as M2…General Industrial Zone.
This was done to prevent the residential area in between Cargill and Richardson’s from getting another half mile of grain silos along the waterfront and to give the neighbourhood some form of protection in the event of another disaster happening. It was also done to control and indicate to the Port of Metro Vancouver that an Eastward expansion of Richardson’s grain elevator was not wanted by the City of North Vancouver, as it would be too close to a residential neighbourhood. It appears that this special ruling can be over-ruled by the Port of Metro Vancouver.
If PMV approves Richardson’s new silo expansion, they would be breaking an existing City memorandum, between the Port and the City.
Richardson have stated emphatically that no other options, other than building eastward, are on the table…despite the fact that there are other options.
Their preferred option to build eastward dramatically increases the chances of a major firestorm in the event of another multi explosion.The other option to build on the south west side would be safer, although some land reclamation would need to be done. However if you look at picture 2 below, it is obvious that between 1977 and now that a great deal of land reclamation has been carried out (see right side of picture 2 part way up) and there is now a large parking lot in that open area.

Also Richardson’s are neglecting the fact that the new 28 silos, which are 50 meters (150 feet) high and 600 feet long will only be a stone’s throw from a residential neighbourhood.
It is interesting to note that Richardson stunned the City Council by introducing their plans to build these 28 silos, along 600 feet of waterfront, in August 2012. This is an item that obviously had been in preparation for some period of time, however, during the two years of talks on the Low Level Road, nothing was ever mentioned to the public or City, until the Low Level Road project was approved.
Councillor Rod Clark voted against the Low Level Road and said he did so because the Council were being besieged by misinformation, disinformation, lack of transparency and a complete lack of community consultation. He said “it’s not acceptable”. Councillor Pam Bookham backed him up, but they were outvoted.
Now, we have another undisclosed surprise that has come up after the low level road was approved and that is that the B.C. Hydro plans to place a line of 69Kv Hydro poles down St. David’s Street to Richardson’s terminal.
All of the above have occurred as a result of subterfuge, trickery and deception, and since the approval of the low level road by the City.
The bottom line is that the City of North Vancouver should never have allowed the grain elevators to have been built years ago.
These two Grain Elevators are potentially the most dangerous in North America, inasmuch as they are presently located only 400 feet from a major residential area.
To the people on the North Shore it is time to act. Do you want to risk the life’s of yourselves, your children and grandchildren to the possibility of another towering inferno? Nobody wants this ugly monstrosity and if the government are going to shove it down out throats then the City must hold Port Metro Vancouver Richardson’s and Cargill fully responsible for a binding surety covenant protecting the people of the south slope of the North Shore.
Finally it is not possible that double the grain, double the coal, double the trains, double the ships will decrease the noise, pollution, coal dust, train shunting and allow us to be safe and stay healthy in this type of environment.

Again it is time to act.

Don McDowall.


2 responses to “Letter to Community re Richardsons (Newspaper headlines 1975)

  1. NIMBYism at its worst. North Vancouver waterfront has always been industrial and will always by industrial. If you don’t like industry, move.

    • northvancityvoices

      Thanks for the comment Dave .. we’re all about free speech and are always willing to post conflicting points of view

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