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City of Powell River CAO outlines garburator ban at committee of the whole meeting

Proposed bylaw amendment would prohibit new installations
PROPOSES BAN: City of Powell River chief administrative officer Russell Brewer introduced a bylaw amendment to committee of the whole to prohibit the installation of garburators in new residential and food service construction.

City of Powell River councillors will consider prohibiting the use of garburators in new construction.

At the November 16 committee of the whole meeting, chief administrative officer Russell Brewer said the reason he is introducing a proposed bylaw amendment for the sanitary sewer and storm drain source control bylaw is because it was an item on the city’s strategic plan to bring back bylaw amendments that would prohibit the use of garburators.

“The purpose is, to provide for your consideration, amendments to that bylaw, as well as the municipal ticketing information bylaw,” said Brewer. “Amendments would prohibit installation in residential dwellings, or food service operations commencing after the bylaw would come into force, so not existing dwellings or food service operations.

“Garburators introduce additional organic loads into the wastewater system, and can result in reduced capacity, as well as increased flushing, water use and costs to process.”

Brewer said the scope of the problem is not well understood but less food waste going into the system will benefit the system. He added that diverting organics to a composting system and away from the solid waste system is a good idea.

“Implementation of this would be timely, given we are building a wastewater treatment plant,” said Brewer. “The other reason it would be timely is eventually, we are planning to transition to organics collection throughout the city and possibly the regional district as a whole.

“Although many municipalities have measures and acknowledged negative impacts of food waste on wastewater systems, most have dealt with it by encouraging and providing education awareness around reducing food waste going into the system or taking advantage of existing green bin or composting programs. The reason most of them have chosen that route rather than prohibiting them is because there are a lot of resources required to track the prohibition of garburators and enforce it.”

Councillor Cindy Elliott said the bylaw is written so people who have existing garburators are not impacted. She asked about the maintenance or replacement of garburators that are broken.

Brewer said the bylaw would impact replacing garburators.

Councillor CaroleAnn Leishman said she’s totally against garburators.

“They are so hard on our sanitary system,” she added. “We really just need to move toward getting rid of them in new construction and doing some education for the public on how hard it is on our system and that it costs the taxpayers money. People can divert their food waste to organics.”

Councillor Rob Southcott said he was proud to say he ripped his garburator out about six months ago.

“I would never put all of that great compost down the drain that can feed my garden,” added Southcott.

The committee gave unanimous consent to send the amendment bylaw to city council for first three readings.