Incinerator site closure highlights draft plan

Regional district targets 65 per cent decrease in landfill waste by 2027

City of Powell River residents had an opportunity to learn more about how garbage and recycling will be dealt with over the next decade during a recent presentation at Powell River Recreation Complex.

Powell River Regional District held its city information session on October 4. Regional district manager of community services Mike Wall welcomed approximately 60 people attending the event.

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For the past year a regional solid waste plan advisory committee has been meeting with environmental consultant Maura Walker to develop the plan.

“Now we're at one of the last phases in the process, which is reaching out to the community to explain the draft plan,” said Wall.

Regional district staff have been collecting the public’s thoughts at the various information sessions they have been hosting since September 20.

Westview resident Joseph McLean, who attended the session with his boys Ryan, six, and Kevin, three, said he is glad to see the regional district moving forward with the cleanup of the Marine Avenue old incinerator site.

The cleanup of the site and construction of a resource-recovery centre, a one-stop location expected to open in 2021 for a planned expanded recycling program, is the first recommendation included in the plan.

“This seems to be turning a liability into an asset. For a long time we've had this issue with the old waste-transfer site being not in compliance and being in need of remediation,” said McLean. “There's not too many scenarios around the world where you go into a dirty site to clean it up and it results in something that's better than status quo.”

The regional district has hired TetraTech consultant Michel LeFebvre to assist with the Marine Avenue site closure and will lead a detailed design group for the planned resource-recovery centre.

The current vision for the centre is to include enclosed waste transfer bays for the city’s curbside collection and space for electoral area residents to bring their recyclables and residual garbage.

After the session, mayor Dave Formosa said he welcomes the development that will bring the region closer to the same waste-management standards employed in other districts.

“It's been a long time coming,” said Formosa. “So far I'm more than satisfied with where we're going.”

Formosa added the city will be moving forward with developing plans for closing the airport landfill and Squatter's Creek dumpsite, both recommendations in the draft plan.

The solid waste plan details a reduction in Powell River’s overall garbage being landfilled over the next 10 years. According to the plan, Powell River residents dispose of 458 kilograms of garbage per person each year. The regional district is aiming to drop that down to 320 kilograms by 2022 and 300 kilograms by 2027.

One key way it plans to achieve that is by removing food and yard waste, about half of what is being thrown into the garbage now, from being landfilled.

City councillor Rob Southcott attended the meeting and said he thought removing the organics is key. He said he felt the plan, though only for the next 10 years, sets the region on the right path for the long term.

“We have to do what we're doing or we will end up paying tomorrow for our mistakes today,” said Southcott, “just like we're paying for cleaning up the old incinerator site, something we didn't do before.”

Formosa said he was glad the regional district was able to get a $6-million federal grant to help offset some of the costs for the closure and building the recovery centre.

“I don't see it being overly costly to the residents,” said Formosa.

Wall said he expects the regional district board will submit the plan to the BC Ministry of Environment in November for approval.

Copyright © 2017 Powell River Peak


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