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Cantimber Biotech closer to starting up

The mill on Harbour Road needs Port Authority go ahead before beginning
The owners of Cantimber Biotech have completed 19 of 21 recommendations and are close to re-starting operations. AV NEWS FILE PHOTO

Cantimber Biotech is getting closer to restarting operations on Port Alberni’s waterfront.

The wood-based activated carbon manufacturer, located on Harbour Road and Bruce Street in Port Alberni, must complete a couple more recommendations from a list of 21 provided to them from the third-party consulting group, Golder and Associates, before starting operations.

Cantimber underwent stack testing at the facility last fall, under supervision from Golder, to check for potential chemicals in the volatile organic compounds (VOC) and to monitor emissions inside the building during full operation.

From the testing, Golder provided a 146-page report to the mill with a list of recommendations that were suggested to be completed prior to beginning operations.

Michael Liu, director of project development and research at Cantimber, said he hopes the mill will be running in a couple weeks.

“We went through most of the 21 recommendations. We provided a progress update last week to the [Port Alberni] Port

Authority who has jurisdiction over us,” Liu said. “They are reviewing…once they work that through and we get their approval we are going to get started.”

Liu said there’s two recommendations that are still in progress for Cantimber staff to complete before beginning operations.

One is the installation of a weather station close to the facility for ambient monitoring.

“We’re down to the model that was recommended by the professionals and also the Ministry of Environment. We’re just moving towards getting that installed,” Liu said. “We know the exact model and I have quotes…it’s a matter of installation and waiting for the machine to arrive.”

The second task that needs to be complete prior to operating is acquiring a revised license of occupation from the Port Alberni Port Authority (PAPA).

“That has to come after everything gets inspected,” Liu said.

Zoran Knezevic, president and CEO of PAPA, said they have received a progress report from Cantimber and provided their feedback on Tuesday.

“We reviewed their document that they put forward with comments on the recommendations that are not fully completed and/or needed further clarity,” Knezevic said. “Once the recommendations are implemented, at that point we will be doing an official review of the recommendations by hiring an independent specialist.”

The independent expert will inspect the mill’s progress and send a report on their findings to the Port Authority before getting the go ahead to start operations.

“Cantimber is aware of our expectations, the expectations of the community and the expectations that are very clearly defined,” said David McCormick, director of public relations and business development at PAPA.

“Ultimately when [Cantimber] starts will be up to the port authority, when it is completely satisfied that they have met all the recommendations and that those recommendation implementations have been verified by a third party.”