Skip to content

Honour system continues at new Vernon sani-dump despite $12,000 estimated loss

An estimated 3,000 people abused the system by not paying last year
Vernon’s sani-dump facility at Kin Race Track is now decommissioned, and will be moving to a new site in Okanagan Landing in the 6400 block of Tronson Road. The facility’s honour payment system will be maintained. (File photo)

An estimated 3,000 people abused an honour-pay system at Vernon’s sani dump last year.

While the city is moving the station, the same payment options are sticking.

The sani-dump site at Vernon’s Kin Race track has been decommissioned, and construction of a new dump site at 6401 Tronson Road, in Okanagan Landing, approved by council in July 2022, has begun.

“The new facility will be operational and open to the public prior to the May long weekend,” wrote utilities manager Sean Irwin in a report to council.

The sani-dump, historically, has operated on an honour system.

The cost to use the facility is $4 per use, and users of the facility have the option of paying cash using an on-site drop box, or paying by phone through the city’s phone app.

The sani-dump generated nearly $4,000 in user fees in 2022. The operating cost for the facility was $2,540.

“Based on limited (one-month peak season) traffic counts at this facility that were collected in 2021, administration estimates that the total lost revenue from this facility due to non-payment is approximately $12,000 annually,” said Irwin, which prompted staff to come up with three potential options to increase payment compliance at the sani-dump facility.

Council voted unanimously to go with Option 1 – maintain the honour system in place, and provide additional, improved signage encouraging payment compliance. Existing signs included a small payment sticker on the cash drop box, and a standard city pay-by-phone sign.

“The signage provided may have been confusing to some users, particularly out-of-town individuals not familiar with the city’s online payment methods,” said Irwin. “Additional signage with improved language that clearly explains the available payment options may help increase payment compliance.”

Option 1 provides the lowest initial capital cost to implement and the lowest annual cost to maintain, essentially the cost of a few signs and annual replacement of signs when damaged.

Since the total estimated amount of revenue is relatively low, significant investments targeting full compliance may not be warranted.

Option 2 featured installing a magnetic locking cap on the sewer clean-out (dumping port), which is controlled (opened and locked) by a payment control box located at the facility. These units, said Irwin, are quite common at sani-dump facilities.

The initial capital installation cost of this option including the required electrical service is estimated at $15,000 and would also require an annual operating cost of $9,000 to cover maintenance and licensing fees.

Option 3 was to install a powered entrance gate with a payment kiosk system, often used at entrances to pay parking lots.

“The potential problems associated with recreational vehicles being denied access to the facility and then being forced to back up onto Tronson Road would be unacceptable from a safety perspective,” said Irwin. “The use of powered entrance gates for this particular application is not appropriate.”

READ MORE: Police seize 1.5 million illegal cigarettes after Vernon traffic stop

READ MORE: More falling, dangerous trees force closures at Vernon ski hill

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
Read more