Taxpayers review trash management options

Solid waste management discussed

Leslie Glen

Leslie Glen

The Cariboo Regional District (CRD) drew dozens of people out to the first of five Let’s Talk Trash open houses scheduled in the South Cariboo this fall.

Folks who went to Creekside Seniors Activity Centre on Oct. 5 ranged from residents and recycling managers to hospital staff and contractors, whose interest was peaked to hear more about the proposed 10-year Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP), ask questions and provide their input.

CRD environmental services manager Mitch Minchau presented a run-down of some options currently being considered, while CRD chair Al Richmond, District of 100 Mile House Mayor Mitch Campsall and district Coun. Dave Mingo helped hash out the details of the various choices.

Minchau welcomed questions from the crowd, as he moved along in an interactive presentation that sparked discussion on the various routes available for dealing with trash, while still providing the best bang for the taxpayer’s buck.

“There are some things we fundamentally have to change in order to move forward,” Minchau explained.

Some updated information provided to the group included cost savings narrowed down for certain SWMP areas, such as expanded recycling services, which he noted was highlighted as important in public responses to date.

In past public consultations, folks put an emphasis on increased types of accepted recycling items and providing better information on available recycling.

Minchau provided estimated costs associated with the current service level and various proposed options.

The CRD’s present recycling program diverts 7,200 tonnes and costs individual households approximately $13 each year, based on the average property assessment, he noted.

Option A would see the creation of three central eco-depots, as well as placing recycling bins at all waste collection sites.

Option B would include the eco-depots, but bins would only be on-site at the 10 busiest locations, with a mobile trailer servicing the remaining communities.

Both the A and B options would involve increasing taxation by an additional $19/year for the average homeowner and divert more than 16,000 tonnes of trash.

Four additional options were provided to add a composting element to the SWMP.

These come with a wide range in associated costs, from adding 25 cents a year for a simple backyard composting promotion and a seasonal organic waste collection and bins plan adding $15 to a year-round compost collection, including meat scraps and increasing annual costs by $113.

Another key aspect was investigating waste-to-energy options, Minchau explained, such as burning wood waste at cogeneration plants to generate both electricity and heat.

Other issues explored included adding staff at sites, bylaw officer enforcement and the necessity of keeping trash sorted, he said, adding wood waste can’t be used for cogeneration if metals are mixed in with it.

While nails and similar fasteners can often be removed with magnets, aluminum is a “real problem,” Minchau added.

Thirteen open houses around the region will provide more fodder for the SWMP, as the CRD goes forward with some committee recommendations.

All of the information presented and the schedule for upcoming open houses is available online at www.cariboord.bc.ca.