Bigger dump may be a solution

Expanding the city dump may be an alternative to closing the landfill, which is nearly full.

Expanding the city dump may be an alternative to closing the landfill, which is nearly full.

Increasing the size of the landfill is one of two options recommended by a consultant in a report to the regional district’s Solid Waste Management Plan Advisory Committee.

The report, which the committee has been waiting on for a year, looked at seven different scenarios for dealing with the region’s waste.

Options ranged from closing the Campbell River landfill and expanding the Cumberland facility, to closing all existing landfills and building one new facility somewhere in between Campbell River and Courtenay.

“The preliminary report indicates the most effective option is either expansion of the Cumberland site (Pigeon Lake) or expansion of the Campbell River site, in terms of waste energy, cost and production of greenhouse gas emissions,” Coun. Claire Moglove, who also sits on the Waste Management Advisory Committee, told council last week.

Maura Walker, one of the consultants working on the Solid Waste Management Plan, told the Mirror last fall it would make the most sense to have one regional facility in the Comox Valley, where the highest volumes of waste are generated.

The regional district also already owns land adjacent to the Pigeon Lake waste centre that is earmarked for a landfill.

A controversial option, converting the closed Catalyst mill site into a landfill, was considered nonviable by the consultants for a number of reasons, said Moglove, and likely won’t go ahead.

That option was criticized by area residents who objected to having a garbage dump along the ocean.

Critics were also concerned waste water running down the area’s sloping terrain could have a negative impact on aquatic life.

The Solid Waste Management Committee – which includes the Comox Valley and Strathcona regional districts – does not have a lot of time in deciding what model to use as the Campbell River landfill is rapidly running out of space.

Moglove said closure of the landfill is slated to begin later this year and the dump could become a transfer station, with garbage transported to the Cumberland Waste Management Centre.

Smaller dumps in Tahsis and Zeballos are also slated for closure next year as they don’t comply with BC Landfill criteria and to correct the problem would be costly.

The Campbell River dump, however, could be saved, at least for the short-term, by constructing a mechanically stabilized earth wall.

This can add additional waste disposal airspace with little or no additional land requirements.

“If that does go ahead, it could expand the lifespan by five to six years,” said Moglove.

Another, more comprehensive report, will come before the committee at its meeting next month when Moglove hopes the committee will be able to come to a decision.