Robson residents living across the river from the Interfor sawmill say noise from the mill is disrupting their lives and despite multiple requests to the company to fix the problem, residents say the problem persists.
Terry and Karen Hughes have been living at their Robson home since 1987, but they say they’re no longer able to enjoy their home and can no longer sleep in their master bedroom as they’ve had to move to a bedroom on the lower floor to escape the noise.
“It’s over and above what we’re used to as noise. We’re used to the trucks going by, we’re used to a lot of things out of that mill because we’ve been there so long,” says Karen. “This is over and above.”
The Hugheses say the noise isn’t continuous but can start up anytime between 5 a.m. and 1 a.m.
Interfor has owned the sawmill since 2008, but Terry says the noise only became a problem five years ago, when he and Karen sent their first letter to Interfor in September 2012.
Since then the couple says they’ve talked to a number of Interfor employees regarding the problem.
In December 2016 the Hugheses and other residents affected by the noise met with Phil Markin, director of development services for the City of Castlegar, and Rick Smith, director of Area J, and a number of Interfor representatives, including mill manager Jim Tazelaar.
Smith and Markin confirm that a meeting took place and say that the Interfor representatives said that they would look at different options to mitigate the noise.
Smith also said that he’s talked to someone from Interfor since and they said they’d put some sound dampening blankets up.
“They are making some efforts,” said Smith.
Interfor falls within Castlegar’s city limits, but asked about whether or not the city’s noise bylaw applied to the sawmill, Markin said, “Interfor is carrying on a business, which is an industrial business that requires the using of saws and everything else so I’m not sure what else I can tell you on that.”
Markin encouraged the Castlegar News to contact Interfor for more information, but as of press time, mill manager Tazelaar had not responded to requests for comment.