05/07/2015 05:29 EDT | Updated 05/07/2016 05:59 EDT

Aevitas withdraws from Chilliwack recycling facility development

Waste management company Aevitas has suddenly withdrawn from building a controversial hazardous waste recycling facility in Chilliwack, B.C.

"Unfortunately the multiple hurdles have accumulated to a never-ending uphill battle," wrote Aevitas President Byron Day, in a notification to the city late Wednesday afternoon.

The City of Chilliwack approved the facility in January, despite criticism from a coalition of First Nations and environmental groups, who said it would pose too great a risk of byproducts like mercury and PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) to seep into the nearby Fraser River.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz said the city released the company's notification publicly so the public would be aware of the firm's decision, but was disappointed by its lack of detail.

"They provided no information whatsoever to the City of Chilliwack about their decision to pull out," said Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz.

Gaetz said despite city staff's requests, the company didn't consult with the public and, as a result, wasn't able to convince residents of the project's safety.

She added that a similar type of facility was still needed in the community, but did not make clear whether the city will continue to pursue this or any similar project.

"In 2013 when Aevitas brought forward it's rezoning application; we knew such a recycling facility was needed in the Lower Mainland," she said.

"Providing environmentally responsible disposal for many items we use on a daily basis, such as CFL bulbs, remains important to us."

'Great win for the community'

Opponents were happy to hear the company had pulled out.

"This is a great win for the community as well as those downstream from us," said Watershed Watch organizer Lina Azeez. 

Azeez agreed there had been a lack of public consultation, but said it wasn't fair to put all the blame on the company. 

"If anything they should have been given proper guidance from the city," said Azeez.

Stó:lō Grand Chief Clarence Pennier was also happy with the company's decision. He believed this would draw an end to the project had some reservations about the potential .

"It was good news to hear that they weren't going to be building their facility by the river," said Pennier.

"But sad in a way that they're not going to pursue another location where they can do the work that's necessary to keep things out of the garbage dumps."