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Comox Strathcona Waste Management board approves tip fee hike

The amount for municipal solid waste per $145 per tonne starting in 2023
CSWM is putting through an increase for tipping fees on solid waste in 2023. Record file photo

Getting rid of solid waste in the region is going to cost a bit more as of next year.

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management board voted for a bylaw on tipping fees and solid waste disposal at the June 16 meeting.

This includes a hike to bring the total up to $145 per tonne for municipal solid waste as of Jan. 1, 2023.

“That’s $5 over the current tip fee,” senior manager of CSWM service Vivian Schau said.

By passing the bylaw, the board is giving staff six months to make the changes and communicate with the public about the new rate as of 2023.

As part of the process to draft a new bylaw for the fees, staff examined the bylaw’s language for clarity and reviewed costs from other jurisdictions.

“Staff did a complete review,” Schau added.

The last years with tipping fee increases were 2016 and 2019. Schau pointed out the amount in recent years has not kept up with consumer price index (CPI) rates of late, as CSWM was taking into account the need for breaks for residents in light of economic hardships related to COVID-19. The staff report notes that based on CPI increases, the figure would be $153, or a $13 a tonne over the current amount.

The staff also looked at the rates for communities in the area to avoid problems such as ‘leakage’ or people using facilities outside their area, or illegal dumping that could result from disproportionate rates.

“We wanted to make sure we’re aligning with our regional neighbours,” Schau said.

Through this comparison process, CSWM staff settled on a median figure of $145 per tonne. For example, Nanaimo’s regional rate is $140, Cowichan Valley’s is $164, Alberni Clayoquot is $130, Sunshine Coast is $150, qathet’s is $240 and the Capital Regional District’s is $110. Some of those with higher costs, Schau noted, export waste through a contractor to Washington.

Board members posed questions about rates and what this might do with curb pickups. The staff report did provide information on fees proposed for a number of items including clean fill, construction and demolition waste, comingled food and yard waste, mattresses, grass and leaves.

RELATED STORY: Comox-Strathcona staff explain staff additions at landfill

As well, the board asked about the reduced tax requisition amount and when that might be increased back to the $6 million amount for the Comox Valley and Strathcona regions. Due to COVID-19 challenges, CSWM had reduced the annual tax requisition by $1 million to provide temporary relief during the last couple of years.

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