Indecision continues over compost siting

Indecision continues over compost siting

(Photo: Deborah Pfeiffer)

By Lyonel Doherty

It’s back to the compost drawing board for the regional district.

On Thursday, staff was given no direction in the siting of a regional compost facility. This means the Oliver Landfill and Senkulmen Business Park are off the table at this time.

It was previously considered that the landfill could be a potential site for a smaller facility, such as a windrow operation. And the business park siting was deemed too close to neighbouring homeowners.

However, Area C director Terry Schafer favoured the landfill as a workable site for a larger regional facility. But regional staff said more space was needed, noting the adjacent landowner was not interested in selling.

According to Mayor Ron Hovanes, Oliver would not work, logistically. But . . .

“I know that we need to put less and less in our landfills as the cost of reclaiming sites and finding new ones are truly cost prohibitive.”

Hovanes said there was so much push-back on the regional district sites under discussion that it is understandable to take a break and perhaps a new approach.

“It will have to be addressed one day with hopefully a better proposal.”

The mayor noted this has truly been a case where community engagement certainly contributed to the latest decision by the board.

Solid waste management coordinator Cameron Baughen said all they know right now is where the board doesn’t want the facility – Marron Valley and Summerland.

On Thursday, directors voted against revisiting these areas because many residents strongly rejected the idea. They cited increased traffic and odour as their primary concerns, in addition to impacts on property values.

However, a representative of locatee landowners in Marron Valley said they’re hoping the board reconsiders.

Elizabeth Bent said they are planning to develop the land and their neighbours will have no input on what will go there.

But Area D director Tom Siddon said many residents in Marron Valley oppose the idea of a food composting site in their community.

Siddon previously recommended that the board hire a consultant to find the best location for it.

Area F director Michael Brydon questioned people who are part of the problem but want to exempt themselves from being part of the solution.

Baughen told the Chronicle that he believes the board may decide not to remove food waste from the garbage stream.

“They have not heard any positive support for food waste diversion, only negatives. Unless the public wants this it will not happen.”