FVRD blasts Metro Vancouver over waste management plan

FVRD directors accuse Metro Vancouver of creating a waste management plan that would fund a new Waste-to-Energy incinerator.

Directors of the Fraser Valley Regional District accused Metro Vancouver of creating a waste management plan that ensures a steady stream of capital and fuel to Metro’s planned $500 million Waste-to-Energy incineration facility.

“The main discussion around (waste) flow control is because you’re going to need it to feed your incinerator,” Chilliwack mayor and FVRD board chair Sharon Gaetz told Richmond mayor Malcolm Brodie, chair of Metro’s Zero Waste Committee. “You’re going to need it to pay the $500 million that it will cost to be able to build that incinerator. Tell us, is that true? Is that not true? And if it’s not true, you better give us a pretty good explanation.”

As presented to FVRD’s board on Tuesday, Metro Vancouver wants to regulate where garbage haulers dump their waste, in order to prevent an outflow of garbage to nearby landfills with cheaper tipping fees. A private transfer station in Abbotsford is a prime destination for Metro waste, accounting for much of the estimated 50,000 tons of garbage that is already being trucked out of Vancouver each year.

Metro plans to divert 70 per cent of its waste through recycling and composting by 2015, and 80 per cent by 2020. The region currently diverts 57 per cent.

With such high diversion rates, Metro would need to ensure that it has enough revenue to fund its waste management services. The region could accomplish this by stemming garbage outflow, and by raising landfill tipping fees from the current $107 per ton, to $151 per ton by 2017. Tipping fees within the FVRD stand at $75 per ton.

“To be able to push the tipping fees that high and control that garbage gives everybody the message that you’re trying to find a way to be able to keep feeding the beast,” said Gaetz, referring to Metro’s planned WTE incinerator.

Items most easily diverted from incineration, being plastics, organics, and wood and paper, also generate the most energy when burned, leaving FVRD vice-chair and Abbotsford city councilor Patricia Ross to wonder what there will be left to burn.

Abbotsford mayor and FVRD director Bruce Banman accused Metro of seeking to monopolize the market on garbage in order to fund and fuel the planned WTE facility.

“I look at the current government that we have in the province of British Columbia, and I am thankful that they will have a say in this because I can’t imagine a free-enterprise saying that you guys get a monopoly,” said Banman. “I don’t know how you’re going to explain to all your taxpayers that they’re going to be clipped an extra 50 bucks a ton because you needed to manage your business plan.”

Banman compared Metro with Oslo, Norway, a city that imports garbage in order to fuel its waste-to-energy facilities that supply about half of the city’s electricity.

Tuesday’s FVRD board meeting was the first opportunity that directors have had to address the Zero Waste Committee publicly, on their home turf, and directors were quick to express their frustration with Metro’s WTE consultation process.

“We’ve waited for a long time for this, to be able to talk about (incineration) at Fraser Valley Regional District,” said Gaetz.

Brodie insisted that flow control and incineration were two separate issues, and that Metro would have to implement its flow control program irrespective of future waste-to-energy technology.

“We came here to speak about the waste flow control, and that’s what we want to speak about. We asked for consultations with the political people around this table to talk about the waste-to-energy situation in general, but we really haven’t made much progress on that,” said Brodie.

Gaetz replied that FVRD will be open to consultation once its WTE expert is admitted onto the Zero Waste Committee’s third party panel, and once Metro freely forwards documents related to the incinerator that FVRD has requested. Metro has asked for $5,000 in fees for the documents, costs that FVRD maintains should be waived because the documents relate to a matter of public safety.

Banman was incensed at Metro’s consultation process.

“You talk about consultation, about if you were to ever import garbage, you’d consult. Well I hope it goes a heck of a lot better than the consultation with regards to the burner that you really don’t want to talk about, because it’s really awkaward, and it’s the big elephant in the room.”

Metro Vancouver is currently finalizing its procurement plan for the WTE facility. If Metro reaches its “aggressive” diversion targets, said Solid Waste Services manager Paul Henderson, it would scale down the capacity of its existing and planned WTE facilities.

akonevski@theprogress.com
twitter.com/alinakonevski

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP not seeing ‘significant loss’ in ranks because of COVID-19

Surrey Mounties say they have a good tracking system to keep tabs on police officers experiencing an illness

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

APRIL 1: B.C.’s state of emergency extended, provincial health officer to provide update at 3 p.m.

Supreme Court upholds White Rock council decision on Lady Alexandra development

Planned 12-storey highrise on lower Johnston Road was stalled in 2018

No final high school game for Surrey all-stars; six scholarship winners named

COVID-19 forces cancellation of all-star games for boys and girls at Enver Creek gym April 3

B.C. records five new COVID-19 deaths, ‘zero chance’ life will return to normal in April

Province continue to have a recovery rate of about 50 per cent

Trudeau says Parliament needs to sit to pass expanded COVID-19 benefits

Both the prime minister and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer have promised to donate their salary increase

UPDATE: Anti-tax group calls for MPs, senators to donate scheduled pay raises to charity

Bill C-30, adopted 15 years ago, mandates the salary and allowance increases each calendar year

Liberals delay release of 75% wage subsidy details, costs: Morneau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

World COVID-19 update: NATO suspicious of Russian military drills; Cruise ships ordered to stay at sea

Comprehensive update of coronavirus news from around the world for Wednesday, April 1

John Horgan extends B.C.’s state of emergency for COVID-19

Premier urges everyone to follow Dr. Bonnie Henry’s advice

UPDATE: 6.5-magnitude earthquake in Idaho shakes B.C. Interior

An earthquake was reportedly felt just before 5 p.m. throughout the Okanagan

Two inmates at prison housing Robert Pickton test positive for COVID-19

Correctional Service of Canada did not release any details on the identities of the inmates

B.C. heart surgery patient rarely leaves home

James Jepson is especially vulnerable to the novel coronavirus

Most Read