Funding comes through to open a regional composting facility

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service will receive $5.5 million from the provincial and federal governments to open an organics composting facility.

The funding is part of a grant program that provides one-third funding from each of the senior levels of government, while leaving the remaining one-third in this case $2.77 million to be funded by the benefitting local government.

James Mathers, senior manager of the Comox Strathcona Waste Management services, said a regional compost facility which removes food from the waste stream will go a long way to meeting the service’s Solid Waste Management Plan target of a 70 per cent diversion rate from the region’s landfills by 2022.

“The timing of this announcement couldn’t be better,” Mathers said in a release. “Diverting food waste from our landfill is an achievable goal and shared commitment in our community. We look forward to moving ahead with achieving a sustainable solution for the management of food waste in our region.”

It’s believed that diverting organics from the landfill also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, specifically methane gas, generated by organic material decomposing in the landfill.

The solid waste service, which is operated under the Comox Valley Regional District, has been working with the City of Campbell River on a regional organics management solution for a number of years.

The city, in 2015, applied for grant funding to establish a regional organics facility at its Norm Wood Environmental Centre but was unsuccessful. Then, last April, the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service agreed to apply and take another shot at grant funding. The announcement that the service was successful came last week, much to the delight of Mayor Andy Adams.

“It’s good news for Campbell River and it’s good news for the Comox Valley,” Adams said. “This is a shared initiative.”

A study has been conducted to examine potential technologies, costs and locations for the organics centre but the City of Campbell River has expressed interest on more than one occasion in locating the facility at Norm Wood.

City staff have said that having such a facility at that site would not only allow for composting of organics but could also potentially treat its biosolids.

Such a move, pending Ministry of Environment approval, could save the city up to $3 million by not having to replace the digester at the Norm Wood Environmental Centre which currently handles the city’s waste.

In the meantime, the Comox Strathcona Waste service says that with funding now secure, the service can now finalize its analysis, select a site, develop a program and then design and construct the infrastructure required for the $8.3 million organics composting facility which it hopes to have operational by the year 2020.

About Comox Strathcona Waste Management

The waste management service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District and oversees the landfills in the Comox Valley and Campbell River, as well as transfer stations and smaller-scale waste and recycling facilities in communities scattered throughout both the Strathcona and Comox Valley regional districts.

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management service manages more than 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material and oversees a number of diversion and education programs.