Contributed photo A photo recently taken by Vivian Sam of dirt piles in the Alberta Parking Lot Services yard behind her home.

Red Deer woman is concerned about industrial dust blowing into her home

Older residential properties were allowed to back onto industrial land

Feeling her complaints about industrial dust and noise pollution near her home are going unheeded, a Red Deer woman has taken to social media.

Vivian Sam, of Oriole Park, brought her concerns about Alberta Parking Lot Services to Facebook and Twitter after deciding she wasn’t getting anywhere with the City of Red Deer.

The Overdown Drive resident, whose home overlooks industrial land south of 67th Street, is upset with activities at the industrial site. She first moved to the duplex, which offered a close walk to school for her kids, in 1996, but had been renting it out in recent years to tenants. Since she could not keep tenants, because of noise and other concerns, she recently moved back into the dwelling.

Sam accuses Alberta Parking Lot Services, which cleans parking lots — sometimes on contract for the City of Red Deer — of leaving large stockpiles of “dirt, metal, asphalt, and concrete” on their site. Wind carries dust from these piles to nearby homes, said Sam.

While the offending stockpiles were sometimes moved after she complained, Sam soon noticed new piles either left in the yard, or in the back of dump trucks. “Some of it could (contain) hazardous waste, such as “motor oil, tar, or lime,” added the woman, who’s also been bothered by nightly barking of a watch dog, and trucks working “at all hours.”

A representative of Alberta Parking Lot Services said City of Red Deer inspectors investigated these complaints and found no wrong-doing. “We now feel it’s a fully closed case.”

Erin Stuart, manager of inspections and licensing for The City of Red Deer, confirmed that the company is allowed to leave temporary stockpiles, and was found to be emitting no more dust or noise than other industrial operators.

The problem is this is an older area in which residential properties were allowed to back on to industrial development — something that’s no longer “typical,” added Stuart. She noted such disputes between residents and businesses can be resolved through mediation. Another option could be planting a berm — something Overdown Drive residents unsuccessfully attempted in the 1990s.

Although the parks department has no extra budget for this after this summer’s windstorms, Stuart believes it’s still worth starting the discussion.

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