Compost facility a rotten idea, consultant says

The proposal involves selling or removing more than 75 per cent of the compost that will be generated by the organics facility

A solid waste consultant believes the city’s pursuit of a compost facility is “not worth doing” and too expensive, according to Mayor Walter Jakeway.

As councillors prepared to vote at last Tuesday’s council meeting to proceed with opening an organic compost centre in Campbell River, Jakeway delivered the bad news. While attending a solid waste management board meeting last month, the mayor heard from Andy Keir of AECOM, the consultant hired by the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service to study the region’s solid waste system.

“He said to forget about organics,” Jakeway told council. “He said you’re wasting your time; you’re building a system that’s far too complex and far too complex means far too expensive – his suggestion was to simplify the whole system and don’t even bother with organics.”

Council, however, voted to move forward with the project. The city will make an application to the province to use property – located in the Agricultural Land Reserve – for an organic composting facility. The land in question is located next to the city’s Norm Wood Environmental Centre on the Island Highway across from Orange Point Road.

City development officer Kathleen Wilker said an organics centre is needed to follow through on the city’s waste services.

“The proposed organics processing facility…has been deemed necessary to further facilitate the implementation of Campbell River’s curbside organics collection service as prioritized in the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan for the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service areas,” Wilker wrote in a report to council.

The proposal involves selling or removing more than 75 per cent of the compost that will be generated by the organics facility. Further, such a facility will contribute to diverting waste from the landfill. But Jakeway said Keir figures it’s not worth the city’s time.

“The reason being is that organics are about 75 to 80 per cent water,” Jakeway said. “He said, ‘you’re worrying about an incredible amount of water and it’s not worth the money.’ He said you’re trying to do a big city solution in a rural area and you folks are spending way too much money doing it.”