Cumberland Coun. Roger Kishi feels North Island communities are well positioned to deal with garbage now that a regional Solid Waste Management Plan can be implemented.
The linchpin of the plan will be an expanded, engineered landfill in Cumberland — the most expensive project concerning a loan authorization bylaw that Kishi and other members of the Comox Strathcona Waste Management board adopted last week. The plan is to borrow more than $45 million to close landfills in Cumberland and Campbell River, and to construct a new landfill next to the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre, also known as the Pidgeon Lake Landfill.
Kishi notes other jurisdictions pay significantly more to manage waste. For instance, the Cowichan Valley and Powell River ship waste by barge to Washington State landfills — a more expensive proposition.
For Kishi, there is also a “moral” side to the issue.
“Should we be shipping our garbage off for someone else to deal with it? If we’re generating the waste, we should deal with it.”
The CSWM board consists of 23 members from the Valley, Campbell River, Gold River, Tahsis, Sayward, Zeballos and electoral areas in the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts. Though Thursday’s vote was not unanimous, the bylaw passed by a significant majority. Kishi was among the directors who voted in favour.
“I don’t know what the rush was,” said Area B director-elect Rod Nichol, who will be sworn in Dec. 11 at the inaugural meeting of the new CVRD board. He notes a fair portion of the old CSWM board is being replaced.
“That’s a lot of money to pass. I believe the new board should have had input. There’s going to be a lot of new faces on that board, and that’s a huge decision.”
Edwin Grieve, who chaired the CVRD and CSWM boards, said the solid waste plan was adopted and approved by the province after extensive study, discussion and public consultation.
He notes the bylaw was initially approved in September but was sent back by government for minor changes. The board reconvened Nov. 6 to rescind the bylaw to second reading, make adjustments, move it to third reading, then send it back to Victoria for approval.
“I am sure that the new board will face many challenges of its own and hopefully will have the same respect, decorum and dedication to the work that was displayed by the outgoing board,” Grieve said.
The Solid Waste Management Plan incorporates opportunities to consider new technology, especially around composting. Waste To Energy is an optional — not integral — part of the plan.
“We have to do things to be in compliance with government regulations around the leachate and the gas collection,” Kishi said.
Cumberland and Campbell River will both be compensated for road upgrades, as per a Host Community Agreement, with Cumberland receiving the lion’s share of the money.