Island communities are watching closely as Metro Vancouver writes a plan to deal with its growing garbage problem.
One option being considered by Vancouver city councillors is to build an incinerator in Gold River in Vancouver Island’s northern region or on the Lower Mainland. The Ministry of Environment endorsed a waste-to-energy incinerator in late July.
Carey McIver, Regional District of Nanaimo’s manager of solid waste, said said while working toward zero waste is the RDN’s top priority, it is understood that some garbage will always be generated after recycling efforts have been maximized and deciding on waste-to-energy methods will be considered.
“At this point there is not enough waste on Vancouver Island to make conventional waste-to-energy methods cost effective,” said McIvor. “These huge incinerators need about 700 tons a day and we generate about 100.”
With Vancouver potentially barging its waste to Gold River, however, that could change.
“If Vancouver decides to go out of region and look at Gold River, then we look at the cost of that and say ‘does this make sense for us?’ because even though we’ll hit 70 or 80 per cent diversion, there is a finite life attached to that landfill,” she said.”
A tri-regional waste to energy incinerator would receive an estimated 200,000 tonnes of waste annually.
It is estimated that at the current pace, the Cedar Road landfill will be full in 2030, but an Island incinerator would likely extend that.
Currently, Nanaimo has about a 33 per cent diversion rate but the upcoming Green Bin Program is expected to increase that to considerably.
All B.C. municipalities are expected by the province to hit diversion rates of 70 per cent by 2012.