01/06/2015 04:23 EST | Updated 03/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Chilliwack hazardous waste recycling facility faces vote

The City of Chilliwack could move one step closer today to approving a new hazardous waste recycling facility just metres from the Fraser River. 

The controversial project has been widely criticized by First Nations and environmental groups,saying the risk is too great for byproducts like mercury and PCB to seep in the water.

"It's really just a stone's throw away from the Fraser River. We can't forget the Fraser is the largest salmon producing river in the world and, to have a facility like that which will handle highly toxic materials is the basis of the controversy," said Sto:lo Tribal Council fisheries advisor Ernie Crey. 

Sumas First Nation Chief Dalton Silver supports the idea of a recycling plant, but believes it should be built somewhere else.

"It is a pretty active fishing area for our people. If anything should go wrong there, there's no doubt that the Fraser would be affected," said Silver.

The Watershed Salmon Society is also opposed to the project. 

"We're told nine layers of containment within the facility will ensure there would be no spills, however we've not had an opportunity to see these reports," said spokesperson Lina Azeez. 

Chilliwack city council is expected to vote on the project today, after the city's design review panel recommended it be given the green light.

Final approval, however, is up to B.C.'s Ministry of Environment.