Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) is moving ahead with the plans for a new organics composting facility.
The project is at the procurement phase, so even with so many services shut down or reduced currently due to COVID-19, plans are able to move through this phase.
“We’re in pretty good position on the organics project,” said Marc Rutten, general manager of engineering services for the Comox Valley Regional District.
CSWM is the body – comprising both the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts – that oversees waste management for the two regions.
The organics composting facility is slated to be built in the Campbell River area for fall 2021, while its landfill will be closed in the next few years. The site will provide a centre for all organics compost material in the two regions, while garbage would be directed to the new landfill in the Comox Valley.
Rutten says CSWM is currently in the process of hiring a design-build contractor, which does not require any on-site work that could be affected by current physical distancing restrictions. The consultants and construction companies bidding on the project are working close to capacity by moving to home offices.
“We’ve moving ahead. We’re hoping to have a design-build contractor in place in the summertime,” he said.
Three firms were selected for the shortlist to submit proposals for the design and construction of the facility: Bird Construction Group Ltd., GFL Environmental Inc., and Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd.
CSWM will work closely with the contractor that is chosen to determine what kind of site work can be done, and Rutten expects some construction work can happen. Proposals from bidders should be back in the hands of CSWM in early summer.
“For organics right now, there’s no delay to the schedule or the scope of the project,” Rutten said.
It is possible the pandemic could have some effect on the project budget – for example, if proponents build more risks into their pricing proposal or if they are feeling competitive due to less demand for work, though Rutten says this is not clear at this point.
At a CSWM board meeting in March, Rutten presented an update on the project, which included open houses in Campbell River and online surveys. In general, residents have supported the plan though some have expressed concerns such as odours, pests, effects on groundwater, tree removal, air contaminants and impacts to neighbours. The presentation noted two neighbours and the Campbell River Environmental Committee as being opposed to the location at Block J near the current landfill.