Waste-to-energy select committee rejects staff recommendation

Waste-to-energy select committee rejects staff recommendation

The CVRD’s select committee for studying waste-to-energy needs more time.

That was the verdict after a more than two-hour-long presentation and discussion at the committee’s most recent meeting on Nov. 28.

Waste-to-energy (WTE) is the process of converting solid waste into energy or fuel sources, including electricity and/or heat. The WTE select committee — an ad hoc steering committee of the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board — is tasked with studying the possibility of implementing such technologies into the Comox Valley and Strathcona Regional Districts’ waste management system.

Read More: CVRD considers waste-to-energy technology

Earlier this year, the select committee commissioned engineering consulting firm Morrison Hershfield to evaluate companies that offer WTE technologies.

Although six vendors were initially identified, only three were seriously considered — EcoWaste Solutions, Sustane Technologies, and WTT Netherlands BV. All three offer WTE solutions of some form, whether it’s through incineration of residual waste to create electricity or production of biomass fuel pellets from plastics.

In their assessment, Morrison Hershfield also evaluated the pros and cons of four potential locations where a WTE facility could be located in Campbell River, Gold River or the Comox Valley.

Konrad Fichtner of Morrison Hershfield presented for roughly an hour at the Nov. 28 meeting on what the consulting firm had determined. He spoke about what each vendor offered and what their operation would look like at the four potential locations, including how much each option would likely cost.

Fichtner concluded that the most cost-effective option would be for the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board to maintain its status quo — continuing to send solid waste to the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre and the Campbell River Waste Management Centre (until it closes in 2023).

While Fichtner acknowledged the benefits of WTE throughout his presentation — proven technology that lowers greenhouse gas emissions — he stated that implementing such solutions would add $31 to $110 per ton more to the CVRD’s waste management budget.

“We are looking at substantially higher costs than the current disposal strategy,” he said.

With the consultants’ findings in mind, CVRD staff recommended that the committee reassess the viability of WTE in 2022 as part of the first 10-year update of the region’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). The Comox Valley’s new landfill was only just built this year and started receiving waste in August. The SWMP would have to be amended and updated to accommodate new WTE technologies.

Read More: New engineered landfill open for business

But the committee members decided against staff’s recommendation, saying there are still too many unanswered questions.

Campbell River director Charlie Cornfield repeatedly said throughout the meeting that he disagreed with Morrison Hershfield’s cost-per-ton analysis, which stated the status quo option of continued landfilling would cost $82 per ton. He said they didn’t factor in a $4 million tax requisition and $130/ton landfill tipping fees into their cost comparisons.

“In the table, you’re listing the status quo cost of about $82/ton,” he said. “You’re comparing it to something that does source-separated recycling and organics, so you’re not comparing them straight across. If you look at what we charge per ton — which is $130/ton and a $4 million tax requisition — you’re looking at a huge cost.”

“The cost for source-separating recyclables should also be included in the cost-per-ton. Otherwise, you’re comparing apples to oranges.”

Comox Valley Area B director Rod Nichol, who chairs the WTE select committee, was also outspoken during the meeting. Nichol is a long-time proponent of WTE and largely responsible for the creation of the select committee earlier this year.

He said the long-term viability of the current waste management system is in jeopardy.

“We’ve got a new engineered landfill and the cost is $10 million, with a six-year lifespan. Presently, with our status quo, that’s costing us $40,000 a month. If we go to one of these WTE options that are only putting 10 per cent into that landfill, those six years become 60 years and that $40,000 a month becomes $4,000.

After more than an hour of discussion following Fichtner’s presentation, the committee voted to refer their questions back to CVRD staff. As per the decision, staff will work more with Morrison Hershfield and their answers will come back to the WTE select committee before the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board’s next meeting, which will take place in the new year.

The WTE select committee should provide the board its recommendations at that time.

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

Just Posted

A Coast Range Cannabis store has been approved for the Crown Isle Shopping Centre in Courtenay. Photo submitted
Courtenay council approves seventh cannabis retailer

Coast Range Cannabis to open second store in the Comox Valley

A map of the Village Forest Lands near Cumberland. Image, Village of Cumberland
Cumberland adopts forest management direction statement

Less detailed than full plan, documents sets out decision-making for village-owned land

Gp Vanier in Courtenay. Circa 2018. Photo courtesy Comox Valley Schools
Another COVID exposure alert for Vanier Secondary in Courtenay

Island Health has sent another exposure alert to parents of students attending… Continue reading

“Of Bears at Fridges, drinking Planes and Cinderella’s Shoe” is Jordis Trumby’s first children’s book. Photo supplied.
Courtenay author writes, illustrates first children’s book

When is a collaboration not a collaboration? At first glance, Courtenay author… Continue reading

The 5th Street Bridge requires structural improvements, new coating to repair and prevent corrosion, and deck repairs. File photo
City of Courtenay awards contract for 5th Street Bridge project

The City of Courtenay has awarded the contract for the rehabilitation of… Continue reading

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 8 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

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

The City of Duncan will implement a new pilot project targeting vandalism this spring. (File photo)
Graffiti trouble? Duncan will give you the brush and the paint to remove it

Intiative based on a successful project to protect Port Alberni from unwanted spray paint

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

This was the scene outside North Saanich’s Parkland Secondary School after an attempted but unsuccessful break-and-enter into the school torched an ATM inside of it. Sidney/North Saanich RCMP did not make any arrests and currently lack suspects as the investigation continues. Members of the public who may have witnessed something or possess other information can contact police at (250) 656-3931 or to Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS. (Submitted)
Money to burn: burglars torch North Saanich high school ATM

Police dogs searched the exterior and interior of the school after early morning break-and-enter

The first of Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s long-range maritime patrol aircraft—the Dash-8—becomes operational. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s new De Havilland Dash-8-100 long-range surveillance air craft is capable of staying aloft for eight to 10 hours for a variety of missions up and down the B.C. coast. (Photo supplied by PAL Aerospace)
New plane will double DFO’s surveillance capacity in B.C.

The Dash-8 will fly out of Campbell River for enforecment, conservation missions

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

Most Read