Location for regional compost site a hot potato

By on January 9, 2018

The regional district board could not decide on a decision Thursday on where to locate a regional compost facility, so it deferred the matter to its next meeting. Shown from left are board directors Michael Brydon, Toni Boot, Andrew Jakubeit and Mark Pendergraft. (Lyonel Doherty photo)

Who would have thought composting would be such a hard decision?

But finding a site for a regional facility is anything but easy for the regional district right now.

After an hour-long discussion on Thursday, the board could not reach a decision, so it deferred the matter until the next meeting.

At issue is where to locate a regional facility to compost residential food waste, and how to work with communities to compost their wastewater treatment sludge.

After Marron Valley and the District of Summerland rejected a regional facility in their backyards, the board is “back to square one,” said Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell.

Solid waste management coordinator Cameron Baughen said four other sites were considered, but they have “serious impediments.”

For example, a large regional site at the Oliver Landfill would significantly impact the life of the landfill, he said. And the adjacent landowner was contacted about leasing or buying land to accommodate a regional facility, but there was no interest, Baughen noted.

He did say there is a potential for taking food waste from homes in Oliver and Osoyoos (and their rural areas) and composting it in a “windrow” system at the landfill.

Baughen said Senkulmen Business Park north of Oliver was also considered for a regional site, but this location would pose the highest risk for odours, he pointed out.

Also, a transfer station would be required to transfer materials from Penticton and Summerland.

Baughen said siting the facility at Campbell Mountain Landfill in Penticton would require massive earth and road moving to create space there.

“Staff are at a loss at how to proceed,” Baughen admitted at the end of his presentation.

Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff suggested having smaller composting facilities in the region as opposed to one large facility.

“We need to come up with a compromise; if not we’re going to come to a standstill.”

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit suggested reaching out to the Penticton Indian Band to see if it would be interested in hosting a regional facility.

Summerland Mayor Peter Waterman said there is no point in siting any facility if it’s not going to be sophisticated enough to eliminate all odours and leaching.

Area F director Michael Brydon told the board that every single site they consider will create “screaming” opposition. He then suggested they re-engage Marron Valley and Summerland.

But Waterman said this would cause a furious onslaught of opposition.

Jukubeit said he has no appetite in revisiting communities that didn’t want the facility.

But Penticton city councillor Helena Konanz suggested the opposite, noting the board could offer Summerland “the moon” to reconsider.

“If I were in these two areas, I would be doing cartwheels right now.”

Area D director Tom Siddon recommended the board spend money on a consultant to find a proper site.

LYONEL DOHERTY

Special to the Times

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