By Lyonel Doherty
After being rejected in Marron Valley and Summerland, the regional district is now considering Oliver as a possible site for a composting facility.
At next week’s board meeting, directors will hear a discussion paper on identifying a site to develop a regional facility to compost communities’ organic (food) material. In addition, the board is looking at upgrading wastewater treatment sludge operations in local communities.
The region’s Solid Waste Management Plan calls for facilities to divert food waste and organics from landfills, as well as improve the composting of wastewater.
As part of a feasibility study, two sites were selected and brought to public consultation – Summerland landfill and Marron Valley. But concerns from residents, councillors and directors resulted in both sites being rejected.
The Oliver landfill was subsequently brought forward to host a small residential food waste compost site that would receive material (including yard waste) from Oliver, Osoyoos, Area A and Area C.
According to Cameron Baughen, the regional district’s solid waste management coordinator, there was no opposition to this idea.
Baughen said the study did not tag Oliver as a regional facility, noting such a facility would be very large for this small site. But he did say that a small-scale “windrow” compost site could be incorporated at the landfill.
Another option the board is considering is Senkulmen Business Park. Baughen said that a private compost firm has proposed to develop a regional site there.
“A conservative odour model conducted by our consultant showed that this site would impact the highest number of homes.”
Chief Clarence Louie from the Osoyoos Indian Band said the fact the board is looking at Senkulmen Business Park is news to him.
“If the RDOS is considering OIB land, would they not let us know?”
Area C director Terry Schafer said a regional compost site would be best suited at the Oliver landfill, in his opinion.
“It’s owned by the RDOS and has the fewest adjacent residential properties.”
The director said he has been studying heavy truck activity on Black Sage Road and the landfill road. With so many dump truck loads coming in from construction sites, one might think this would have caused traffic jams, he queried.
“But there was no apparent cause for alarm. I received no calls and wouldn’t expect any from extra garbage trucks hauling compostable materials.”
But residents in Summerland and Marron Valley raised concerns about potential odour problems, heavy truck traffic and the impact such a facility would have on local property values.
Oliver Mayor Ron Hovanes said he looks forward to the discussion on January 4.
“At the regional district board it was put forward that a proposed facility would be state of the art, odour-free and leachate free. It is a multi-million dollar proposed infrastructure with a possible long-lasting economic benefit.”
Hovanes said a full dialogue is needed with rural neighbours, the Osoyoos Indian band and the Town of Oliver.
Baughen said failing to develop a food waste composting site will cause landfills to fill up faster and generate more methane gas.
If a site is selected for consideration, another feasibility study would be required.