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Waste service tax to jump 100 per cent

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service has approved a tax increase of more than 100 per cent to help with the costs of closing landfills across the region.

The solid waste board, which consists of Campbell River and Comox Valley councillors, as well as both Strathcona and Comox Valley regional district directors, last Thursday approved a $400,000 tax increase – from $200,000 in 2013 to $600,000 in 2014.

That translates to roughly $8 for a residential taxpayer with an average assessed home of $261,000, said Koreen Gurak, manager of communications for the Comox Valley Regional District.

The tax hike is necessary for the solid waste service to pay for increasing service costs which include developing landfill closure plans for the Gold River, Tahsis and Zeballos waste management centres and replacing them with transfer stations; completing the Campbell River waste management centre closure plans and subsequent landfill closure construction; and expanding the landfill in Cumberland.

The tax increase can also be attributed to a decline in the amount of waste being dumped.

“Bioremediation soil tonnage was down by approximately 50 per cent in 2013 compared to 2012 actual tonnage and this waste stream revenue is projected to decline further by approximately $150,000 in 2014 compared to 2013,” said Debra Oakman, chief administrative officer of the Comox Valley Regional District, in a report to the solid waste board. “Construction and demolition waste tonnages continued to decline in 2013 and were down by approximately 16 per cent when comparing 2013 to 2012 actual tonnages.”

Oakman said it’s expected that within the next five years tonnage is expected to be reduced by 8,000 tonnes a year, which translates to an 11 per cent reduction in tonnage revenues.

To help offset the loss of revenue, the board also approved a new site access fee of $4 for every vehicle that uses either the Campbell River or Comox Valley waste management centre.

Edwin Grieve, chair of the solid waste board, said there will, however, be some exemptions.

“For the vast majority of the residents who use the waste management centres, the tipping fees will still remain affordable,” Grieve said in a release. “The new site access fee would not be applicable to those using the recycling bins or dropping off grass and leaves.”

The board also approved an increase in the minimum load charge from $4 for loads weighing not more than 60 kilograms to $6 for loads weighing no more than 100 kilograms. As well, the fees for clean fill (soil, turf or clean debris suitable for landfill cover) will be raised from $5 per tonne to $15 per tonne.

The board also recommended a temporary suspension of the wood waste and drywall diversion programs, effective immediately, and a change to the drywall fee from $200/tonne to $110 per tonne as the material would become an aggregate of construction and demolition debris.

While the solid waste board approved its budget last week, the financial plan will need to be included in the Comox Valley Regional District’s budget bylaw which is set to be adopted at the end of March.

The waste management service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District which serves communities within both the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts.

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