During an open house this spring, CSWM senior solid waste manager Andrew McGifford (right) talks to people about the future plans for the Campbell River landfill site once it closes in a few years. File photo/Campbell River Mirror

Back-haul option should save money for waste sites

Comox Strathcona Waste Management looks at hauling between landfill and organics compost sites

Back-hauling organic material from the Comox Valley to a Strathcona compost site should save money, says staff.

The two regional districts comprise Comox Strathcona Waste Management and have been planning for a few years down the road when garbage is hauled to the landfill in the Comox Valley and organics are sent to an organics composting facility in Campbell River. Ultimately, CSWM is looking at diverting 70 per cent of material away from the landfill through various practices, including composting.

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At their meeting in April, the board looked further into the option to back-haul waste between the two locations to save on transportation costs. Previously, some board members wanted to know about the back-haul costs versus having a second site for organics in the Comox Valley.

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“I had some questions about the costing out between the different options,” said David Frisch, one of Courtenay’s municipal board representatives.

He specifically cited per-tonne amounts that reflected higher costs for having two shared facilities and how these fit into the overall picture, asking for clarification over reported savings from having a single organics site.

“When I looked at the overall costs, the costs seemed fairly similar,” he said.

Gabriel Bau, manager of CSWM projects, outlined the report that found the practice of back-hauling should save money.

“The savings for the service will be around $70,000 to $100,000 per year,” he said.

The report specifically estimates potential annual savings for CSWM of between $71,000 and $107,000.

Gwenyth Sproule, a local Cumberland representative, wanted more information about the location of a potential transfer station in the Comox Valley to collect organic waste for back-hauling to Campbell River.

CSWM chief administrative officer Russell Dyson responded it will be located at the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Centre.

The board voted to receive the staff report as well as a letter from the Village of Cumberland, which stated the community is ready to host the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Centre for receiving solid waste, but that it did not want an regional organics facility in an area adjacent to any residential community.

Jim Abram, the representative from Quadra and Discovery Islands, wanted more information about a potential transfer station at Cumberland because of the presence of “raw food” and potential odour.

“I don’t think it’s going to stay there,” replied Mayor Bob Wells of Courtenay, who chairs the CSWM board.

Andrew McGifford, senior manager of CSWM services, clarified that transfer station material would be moved to Campbell River organics site at regular intervals, roughly at the rate of three trucks per day going down to the solid waste site with one heading back to Campbell River with organics.

He also mentioned the trucks will be be cleaned out, though they will not need to be sanitized because of the nature of the material. The staff report suggests using a 53-foot walking floor trailer to haul the food and yard waste.

“We would clean out the trailers as required,” McGifford added.

Abram responded that he supported the idea as long as the organic material does not get backed up on site.

Site agreement with City renewed

At the same CSWM meeting in April, the board approved extending a host agreement with the City of Campbell River for the current landfill site until it closes, slated to happen by 2023.

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The previous agreement dates back to September 2013, was amended in 2016 and was to run until the projected closure date of 2018-2019. With the new closure date, the parties needed a new agreement.

“The intent is still there to provide the operational support for the clean-up along Argonaut Road and the maintenance of that,” Andrew McGifford, senior manager of CSWM services said.

The agreement includes $50,000 per year to cover the cost of the city’s annual maintenance and clean-up of Argonaut Road. There were also provisions for corridor repair and to amend property boundaries to include all areas that contain landfill waste.