Members of the Comox Strathcona Waste Management board approved Thursday a bylaw to borrow $45 million-plus for three major landfill projects.
The cost to close the Comox Valley landfill in Cumberland is estimated at $10,620,000 while closing the Campbell River facility is expected to exceed $13 million.
Cost estimate for the third project — a new landfill expansion at the same site in Cumberland — is $21,550,000. Officials anticipate to excavate eight metres below ground, which will provide all the soil needs for the operation.
“It will be totally lined, so it won’t allow any gases or liquids to pass down below the liner as we build the new landfill,” said Tom Boatman, manager of solid waste services. “The closure of the Comox Valley existing landfill will be a shared facility for the gas.
“Those three landfills and that entire borrowing bylaw that’s been approved over the next five years will supply the needed funds for about 84 per cent of our Solid Waste Management Plan,” he added.
Expanding the Cumberland dump and closing the Campbell River landfill was deemed the most suitable — and cheapest — of three long-term waste disposal options for the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts. Both regional landfills are nearing capacity.
“We only have enough space to take our waste into those landfills until the end of 2017,” Boatman said. “And that is the exact time we’re anticipating that we will be completing the new landfill.”
The district has built a retaining wall to provide an extra two years of disposal life at the Campbell River site.
An agreement was reached with Cumberland and Campbell River for the two facilities. Boatman said most compensation will go to Cumberland to upgrade roadways leading to the site.
Besides landfills, officials also considered a number of options for Waste to Energy systems that turn garbage into power, usually through combustion, which is then used for electricity.
“We do have a lot of interest in the board to move in that direction,” Boatman said.
Shipping waste out of the district has also been explored. Powell River, by comparison, ships waste to the U.S. for $150 per tonne. Boatman notes tipping fees in Powell River are $206 per tonne, compared to the local rate of $110 per tonne, which increases to $120 in January.