Regional district Solid Waste Manaagement Coordinator Cameron Baughen spoke out strongly against Area “G” Director Elef Christensen’s request to have RDOS look into the possibility of splitting Area “G” for garbage collection at the March 17 board committee meeting.
Christensen presented a proposal to regional district staff of a plan to split his area at Red Bridge, west of Keremeos, for the purpose of having one portion of the area ship waste to Campbell Mountain, and the other half to the Princeton dump. The request came about after area residents continued to express their displeasure over the recently awarded contract for curbside garbage collection services to BFI Canada. The new contract hit Area
“G” particularly hard, with one of the largest increases in fees in the regional district.
Baughen noted that a number of negotiations would need to take place under the proposal, including that with the Town of Princeton, renegotiation with BFI Canada, and a number of operational amendments to the two landfills. MOE (Ministry of Environment) approval would also be necessary. He cited staff time as a major reason for recommending that the board turn down the request to attempt the process of subdividing the area.
“This amounts to “landfill shopping” – something, if the board decides to proceed with, must be taken seriously,” Baughen told the board.
“A tremendous amount of time needs to be spent on this – if the board decides to proceed, they must be fully committed to it.”
Princeton Director Randy McLean observed that Christensen’s plan would reduce the transport distances of the area’s waste.
“I don’t see “landfill shopping” as a dirty word,” he responded. “This is also about saving money and reducing the environmental footprint.”
Naramata Director Tom Chapman echoed Mc Lean’s thoughts, noting that the distance to the Princeton landfill was less than half the distance than it is to Campbell Mountain.
Area “F” Director Michael Brydon ascertained that staff costs to make any changes would be billed to Area “G”, followed by Keremeos Director Walter Despot’s affirmation that he could support Christensen’s effort if that was what the area wanted, and were willing to pick up the tab for expenses.
Area “C” Director Allan Patton observed that since the move was not currently in the Area “G” budget, some existing workplan costs would have to be cancelled.
Area “G” Director Christensen then pointed out that the idea behind the split was to reduce transport costs.
“All I am asking for at this point is to have staff approach BFI for a different quote, based on 800 (instead of 1,100) households.”
Summerland Director Gordon Clark expressed fears that attempting to open up the contract, which has been agreed to in principle but not yet signed, would be “steering close to an anticiptiory breach of contract.”
Area “B” Director George Hanson acknowledged the different collection rates for Areas “B”and “G”, suggesting that Christensen make this a special project and pay for all costs associated with it.
“I just want staff to ask BFI if this could be done,” answered Christensen.
“This issue is not new – we have been dealing with it for some time. If we had been paying attention, we wouldn’t be here,” said Director McLean.
Penticton Directors Dan Ashton and Judy Sentes both expressed concerns about the possiblity of splitting the area.
It’s important to think regionally,” Ashton said.
“Not a good idea picking out components,” something Sentes also echoed.
A recommendation – “That the committee recommend that the board direct staff to consult with BFI with respect to possibly amending the contract to remove a portion of Electoral Area “G” – was passed by the committee for board approval in two weeks, seemingly giving support to Christensen’s bid to explore another option for collection service in Area “G”.