Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.

Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

By Rachelle Stein-Wotten, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter GABRIOLA SOUNDER

A discussion is underway on whether the Regional District of Nanaimo should receive deep-sea cargo waste from freighters anchored in Nanaimo.

Vancouver-based Tymac Launch Service, a marine transport and waste removal company who provides deep-sea cargo and cruise ship waste removal, is petitioning the RDN to accept solid waste at the RDN landfill following a request the company received from a ship anchored off the coast of Nanaimo.

Tymac collects already separated waste by pulling up a barge to ships either anchored offshore or in port, James Collins with Tymac explained in a presentation to the RDN board on May 25. The waste, including organics, is considered high-risk international waste by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and requires deep burial in landfills.

The Port of Nanaimo supports Tymac’s petition and believes the ability to accept waste at the landfill could contribute to further economic activity in the port, said Jason Michell, Port of Nanaimo’s vice president of business development.

RDN staff said the regional district has the ability to manage the waste and the fees charged would offset any associated costs. Currently, RDN bylaws restrict out-of-region waste and would require a board-approved amendment.

Tymac’s request is for solid waste only. Liquid waste such as bilge water would be transported to Vancouver where the company has an existing permit. When directors asked the volume of waste Tymac expected to send to the landfill, Collins estimated four “jobs” per year initially.

“To me, there’s too many unknowns,” Vanessa Craig, director for Electoral Area B (Gabriola, Mudge, DeCourcy), said during the discussion among directors. “There was no indication of how much solid waste and what would be the implications to the landfill. We just had a budget discussion about landfill closure costs and there could be unanticipated consequences if we don’t know what we’re getting ourselves into.”

Tymac’s request has been referred to the solid waste management select committee, who will receive a staff report outlining financial and environmental management implications of accepting waste from deep-sea cargo ships.

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