Mayor Peter Waterman said there are some solid benefits for Summerland if the community hosts a new regional composting facility at the municipal landfill.
But it’s going to be some time before even testing can get underway following council’s choice to defer a decision on some first steps until all the councillors are present.
Dave Smith, part of a group with concerns about the regional compost facility, said the delay was a good idea, as it would allow a better chance for residents to be informed.
“I think it was wise of council to step back and say let’s wait until we have a full complement of councillors because it is such an important issue,” said Smith. “There is still a lot of people that don’t understand or don’t even know this is happening.”
Two items were presented for council discussion Monday: to allow the Regional District of Okanagan- Similkameen to begin testing the proposed site and to begin public consultation.
“The whole thing was deferred until our council is complete,” said Waterman. “It will be Oct. 21 before everybody is back.”
Waterman said he was disappointed not to have proceeded with allowing the RDOS access to begin investigations, which would have been done at their cost.
“It could be the RDOS will do more detailed investigations and find out that the Summerland site is not suitable,” said Waterman, who says the positive aspects of having that site in Summerland are heavily in the positive.
The first positive, Waterman said, is better handling of biosolids from Summerland’s own waste treatment plant, which are currently mixed with organics on site at the landfill about 330 metres from the balancing water reservoir.
“That’s on bare ground with no odour control and no leachate control,” said Waterman. Likewise organic material, especially kitchen waste, is currently going into the landfill.
In the new facility, that would be processed as well, though separately from the biosolids.
“It would remove the kitchen waste from our landfill,” said Waterman. “Kitchen waste is quite heavy, it consumes about 40 to 70 per cent going into that waste stream. So removing it, just as we do the recycling items, would free up space in our landfill and make it more long-lived.”
The proposed site for the regional facility would also increase the distance from the reservoir. Waterman said it would be about one kilometre away instead of 330 metres.
He’s also told the RDOS that Summerland would not accept anything less than a secure, state-of-the art facility to make sure there is no leachate going into the ground and a full odour control system in place.
“I feel, very strongly, that this is a great improvement in how we handle our waste,” he said.
The third positive is possible road improvements. Waterman points out that Prairie Valley Road is already a commercial route, but it needs repairs.
“The RDOS would have to consider upgrading the road … and ensure safety aspects,” said Waterman. Because of the extra trucking, he’s advocating the RDOS also install full sidewalks on both sides of the road and full signage to indicate this is a school zone and a residential area.
“As far as I am concerned, we are in a position to get a pretty good situation going for Summerland as well as solving a major problem for the RDOS,” said Waterman. “It’s a win-win all the way around.”