Resident’s contamination fears still linger

City council won’t commit to help a resident protect his property from potential contamination he attributes to the Campbell River landfill

City council won’t commit to help a resident protect his property from potential contamination he attributes to the Campbell River landfill.

Instead, council chose at its July 6 meeting to refer the issue to another agency.

The issue in question surrounds the landfill on Argonaut Road.

Resident Don Kolonsky, who also lives on Argonaut Road, has for years been concerned about what he says are “well documented impacts from the landfill” on his property.

Kolonsky, at council’s February 23 financial planning meeting, asked council for funding for a well, UV lamps, a water filtration system and water testing on his property which is separated from the landfill by just one parcel.

Kolonsky asked for $5,000 for the filtration system and $5,000 for quarterly water quality monitoring.

He suggested the money could come from funds that the city has earmarked for landfill purposes.

“There’s an agreement between the City of Campbell River and the Comox Valley district…which pays the City of Campbell River $50,000 a year for social, environmental and economic impacts related to the hosting of the regional landfill on Argonaut Road,” said Kolonsky.

He requested council consider using those funds for the well and filter system “to protect us from leachate contamination.”

While the agreement, which was signed on July 7, 2013, does exist, council chose to refer Kolonsky’s request to the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board on the suggestion of city staff.

Amber Zirnhelt, the city’s manager of community planning and development services, said the issue is best left in the hands of the organization directly responsible for the landfill.

“Mr. Kolonsky’s concern regarding the landfill and his request for funding and water testing should be reviewed by the Comox Strathcona Waste Management service as they directly oversee the Campbell River Waste Management Centre, and all of its operations,” Zirnhelt wrote in a report to city council.

Zirnhelt also recommended that the city ask the Comox Strathcona Waste Management service to follow up with Kolonsky directly to review his concerns.

In the meantime, the landfill is slated for closure by 2018 and that may solve some of the issues brought up by Kolonsky.

The $10 million shutdown will involve covering the entire dump with polyethylene to seal off the landfill and Tom Boatman, manager of the solid waste service, said last summer that it will reduce any impacts from leachate as water passes through the waste on the ground.

Once the Campbell River landfill is closed, a single regional landfill in Cumberland will serve the entire area.

Waste dropped off at the Campbell River dump will be transferred to an upgraded Cumberland dump.

A $2.1 million, 13-metre high wall was built last summer at the Campbell River landfill to extend the dump outward in order to keep it going for three more years, until the new Cumberland dump is built and ready for service, likely in 2018.

That landfill is expected to last until 2037.