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Campbell River garbage dump closure approved

A plan that will see Campbell River’s landfill shutdown and the Comox Valley’s dump expanded was approved by the Comox Strathcona Waste Management Board last Thursday.

The new Solid Waste Management Plan, which will govern waste management for the next 10 years, will be forwarded to local governments and First Nations for support before it’s sent to the Ministry of Environment for final approval by Nov. 30.

Under the plan, the Comox Strathcona area will be served by one landfill – in Cumberland.

That option was one of three shortlisted but proved to be the cheapest choice at just more than $175 million over 30 years. The cost to taxpayers is expected to be $41 per year. Expanding just the Campbell River dump would cost almost $190 million over the same period while expanding both facilities would be more than $185 million.

Campbell River’s landfill will go through the closure process within the next five years, but it will still function as a transfer station once it’s closed, meaning people can still drop their garbage off at the dump.

That waste will then be trucked to the Cumberland landfill as per the current procedure. Tom Boatman, the Comox Strathcona solid waste manager, said a few 20-tonne truckloads of waste as well as two trucks a month carrying yard waste have been sent to Cumberland since the transfer station opened in Campbell River this spring.

Boatman said the closure process will begin in Campbell River next year.

“For Campbell River we plan on partially closing the landfill in 2013,” Boatman said. “We’ll be installing a gas extraction in 2013, improving the storm water management system, and improving our leachate plan.”

The entire envelope of the waste will be capped off and the site closed off, but Boatman stressed that doesn’t mean the end for the Campbell River dump.

Under the new waste management plan, there is some flexibility.

The plan allows the solid waste board to assess the area adjacent to the current landfill for future expansion.

Boatman said a new cell will be built into the Cumberland dump, which is expected to reach capacity in roughly four years, to accommodate the extra waste.

A second cell could possibly be built in Campbell River.

“It gives us options, it gives us flexibility,” Boatman said. “The board could say ‘we authorize you to do a study on Campbell River.’”

For now, the board will focus on expanding in Cumberland. A budget has been set aside for design work to begin in 2013, a process which could take up to two years. Construction would then follow and could take another two years.

The entire solid waste plan has been a lengthy process. It’s been three years since a consultant was hired to help create the plan, which still requires approval from the province to be enacted.

While the plan has been focused on landfill location, its goal is to reduce waste and increase diversion rates from the current 51 per cent to 70 per cent, by diverting waste from the landfill through recycling and composting.

The plan suggests a new curbside food waste composting program, increased recycling services for multi-family complexes and possibly introducing waste-to-energy technologies, although there are no definite plans yet.

To view the solid waste plan, visit www.cswm.ca/plan

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