CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo

CSWM is planning to increase the space for loading bays at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre. Record file photo

CSWM plans increase to number of Comox Valley landfill bays

The expansion prompted in part by COVID-19 spacing requirements

Users of the landfill in the Comox Valley will likely be getting some extra space when disposing of items.

At the Jan. 14 meeting, Comox Strathcona Waste Management staff provided their latest version of their five-year financial plan to the board, comprised of regional district directors from Comox Valley and Strathcona.

There were a couple of minor changes, but one of the more significant additions since discussions last fall is a recommendation from staff to expand drop-off space at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre from the current four-bay binwall. The CSWM board had already decided on replacing it.

“This was a project that was approved in 2020,” general manager of engineering services Marc Rutten told the board. “We’re recommending a larger binwall structure.”

RELATED STORY: Comox Strathcona cutting tax requisition for region’s waste management

The move is being prompted by COVID-19 spacing restrictions as CSWM looks for ways to have people spaced farther apart while dropping off items at the site. There are also considerations about having more spacing for the bins below, which would allow for better maintenance and separation of items.

“Of course, it provides increased capacity, so that we can grow with the community,” Rutten said.

The larger upgrade will come with a cost. The original cost for a new binwall was in the $350,000 to $400,000 range, but with the seven-bay structure proposed, it is now estimated at $770,000.

There was some question from board members such as Jim Abram and Andy Adams, both SRD directors, about looking for grant opportunities associated with COVID-19 support to help with the additional costs.

Rutten responded that staff did look at the grants available but felt this project was too ‘loosely tied’ to the relevant grant criteria. Later, chief administrative officer Russell Dyson added that typically staff do look for grant opportunities available for infrastructure projects, but in this case, it did not seem feasible in light of demands on staff time and tight timelines for application deadlines.

“We can’t just do it all, and unfortunately the grant opportunities that are coming at us are coming with very short timelines and a ton of requirements, in terms of shovel-ready or otherwise,” he said. “We are being inundated by opportunities … and we need to be mindful of what has the best potential.”

Rutten outlined some of the highlights of the budget, which staff had touched on at meetings in the fall. Again, CSWM is planning to reduce the annual tax requisition for the two regions from $6 million down to $5 million for each of the five years in the plan.

Operating costs down will be down $447,000, with saving put into reserves, though operating costs will increase in 2022 once the new organics facility in Campbell River is running. The three large capital projects remain the new organics facility, the landfill closure in Campbell River and Cell 2 at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre.

Tipping fees are expanded to stay at $140 a tonne. Staff did compare tipping fees here with those from a few other regional districts around the province. There had been a request at a board meeting in the fall for a comparison between CSWM and other regions.

Rutten presented data from other five other regional districts. Some like CSWM and Columbia Shuswap rely more heavily on tipping fees than taxation revenue. Sunshine Coast is split halfway, with slightly more revenue from tipping fees. Cowichan Valley and Cariboo both lean more on taxation, and East Kootenay has no tipping fees, relying exclusively on taxes to pay for service.

“You can see there’s quite a variation between regional districts,” Rutten said.

On a per-person basis of all revenue, CSWM is roughly in line with three of the regional districts, in the range of about $120 per capita. Cariboo at just over $80 marks the low end and Sunshine Coast at more than $160 is the highest. Staff said they do try to keep the fees in a range close to adjacent regions to prevent “waste seepage” between regions as well as illegal dumping.

CSWM staff plan on presenting a further proposed budget next month, followed by a recommended budget for the board to adopt in March.



mike.chouinard@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

waste disposal

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A WestJet flight on the runway leaving Comox. Photo by Erin Haluschak
Aviation company seeks contracted employees to fill former WestJet roles at YQQ

Menzies Aviation from Edinburgh Park, Scotland, operates in 34 countries across the world

A cougar was spotted Monday near Queneesh Elementary. (WildSafe BC photo)
Cougar sighted Monday near Courtenay school

Conservation officers are warning the public to avoid the wooded areas around… Continue reading

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
SD71 to address COVID-19 exposures with virtual town hall

The meeting is set for Thursday, March 4

Courtenay Elementary is the latest school on a growing list that has COVID-19 exposures. Google Maps photo
Courtenay Elementary latest school on growing list of COVID-19 exposures

Exposure dates at the school on McPhee Avenue are Feb. 22, 23 and 24

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Tofino Resort and Marina has temporarily shut down after several staff members tested positive for COVID-19. (Nora O’Malley photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at Tofino Resort and Marina

Resort apologizes to Hesquiaht First Nation for Valentine’s Day boating incident.

Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read