Where will garbage incinerator go?
Three years ago I attended a public information session at which options for disposing of solid waste in Metro Vancouver were discussed.
I was disappointed in the session as it was obvious that Metro Vancouver had already decided to proceed with the waste-to-energy (incinerator) option.
There were five so-called experts on the panel and they were all proponents of waste-to-energy. It felt like a propaganda session. Concerns expressed by the audience were dismissed, with the assurance that the process would be so efficient that it would not produce any hazardous air emissions.
I don’t believe that, and suspect that like the existing facility in south Burnaby a new facility will produce substantial hazardous emissions whenever it is not functioning optimally, which in the case of the existing facility is most of the time.
The BC Ministry of the Environment has granted approval for Metro to pursue plans for a waste-to-energy facility, and Metro is resisting allowing the Fraser Valley Regional District to be directly involved in oversight of the implementation of the project. This is interesting since the prevailing winds are from the west which means that any emissions from the facility will blow to the east into the FVRD’s jurisdiction. I anxiously await the decision of where to site the facility. If it is built in Richmond or Vancouver I will have some confidence that the decision makers believe what the experts are telling them. If, as I suspect will happen, the facility is sited in eastern Surrey or outside of Metro altogether my concerns respecting hazardous air emissions will be reinforced.
Unfortunately all of the options for disposing of solid waste are unattractive and it may be that waste-to-energy is in fact the best or rather least bad option. But before reaching that conclusion, an impartial, fully informed review of all of the options should have taken place—which, to my knowledge, hasn’t happened.