Planning is underway for a new regional composting facility at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre and residents are invited to provide their input and learn more about the project over the next month.
A new online engagement portal, complete with survey, will help the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Service (CSWM) better understand what is important to residents during the design phase of the project, according to a release by the organization. The community can also provide feedback and meet the project team at one of two open houses taking place at the Maritime Heritage Centre from 4 to 6 p.m. on Jan. 30 and Feb. 5.
“This is an important project for the region and we want to ensure residents understand why it is needed,” says Andrew McGifford, Senior Manager of CSWM services. “This is also an opportunity for us to gather any information from the public that should be considered in the planning and design phase of the project.”
The facility has not been without controversy.
When it came before Campbell River City Council for approval, neighbours of the proposed location – beside the current landfill up at the end of Argonaut Road – lined up in opposition to the plan, saying it should be located at the Norm Wood Environmental Centre, which was the previous plan.
After the public pushback at city council CSWM defended their new plan, saying the facility will be built to the highest standards, and explaining how the neighbours’ concerns – mainly surrounding odour, leachate, wastewater and additional truck traffic – will be mitigated.
After a series of meetings and public hearings, council gave its approval for the site beside the landfill, and construction on the new facility is now scheduled to begin this fall and be operational by the fall of 2021.
Once complete, it will enable municipalities to collect food and yard waste from over 30,000 single family dwellings in Campbell River, Comox, Cumberland and Courtenay, CSWM says.
“Organics currently make up 30 per cent of the total waste that is landfilled in the CSWM service area,” McGifford says. “Removing organic material from the waste stream will extend the life of area landfills, resulting in a smaller environmental footprint and a more cost-effective approach for handling solid waste.”
The CSWM also says that organic material also produces methane gas – a key contributor to global climate change – when it’s buried in a landfill.
“Properly composting organic waste is an important step to sustainably manage waste in the region and is the largest component of the waste stream that will help the CSWM service achieve its target of removing 70 per cent of waste from the landfill by 2022,” the announcement about the public consultations says.
For those who can’t make it to one of the consultation sessions, there’s also an online survey at cswm.ca/regionalorganics, which will be open until Feb 10 to receive feedback from the community. That’s also where you can see more information about the project.