Environment Canada received a citizen complaint about a metal recycling business in Salmon Arm, one which the owner says is unfounded.
The complaint was regarding refrigerators being crushed without the freon units inside being removed first.
Mike O’Brien, owner of Scrappy’s Metal Recycling in Salmon Arm, says the complaint is untrue.
“I have the full evacuation equipment and I evacuate it all myself,” he told the Observer, adding he has been inspected by an environmental company, as well as Environment Canada’s enforcement staff.
“They’ve been in contact with me and we’ve gone all over it with them – and no, of course we’re not.”
The land is Neskonlith reserve land, so is under the jurisdiction of Indian and North Affairs Canada.
Samantha Bayard, a spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada, responded to enquiries from the Observer via email.
“Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Enforcement Branch is aware of the occurrence and is monitoring the situation. Enforcement officers are currently following up with the company in accordance with applicable Compliance and Enforcement Policies…”
A follow-up question from the Observer attempted to clarify what ‘the occurrence’ means.
“The Enforcement Branch is aware of the occurrence,” Environment Canada’s reply email stated. “This means they are aware of the incident and are following up in accordance with applicable Compliance and Enforcement Policies. Enforcement officers respond to alleged violations in a manner that is fair, predictable and consistent.”
O’Brien says Environment Canada won’t tell him who made the complaint, but he thinks he’s being targeted by someone.
“They went over my whole procedure and everything,” he says of Environment Canada staff. “About a month ago, a month-and-a-half ago. They said my procedures were fine… They’re still going to come out in the spring – or at some point in time. They possibly might come out and do a random inspection. I told them fine. I’m not hiding anything.”
Scrappy’s has been in Salmon Arm for about four years and before that, four years in Notch Hill.