Garbage won’t be generating electricity any time soon.
In a 7-5 vote Wednesday, Regional District of North Okanagan directors decided not to pursue the incineration of solid waste to create energy.
“Landfills are a huge investment we’ve made,” said director Juliette Cunningham.
“I’m not comfortable going off in a different tract.”
Vancouver-based CanKor Pacific first proposed plans for an energy-producing incinerator on Splatsin First Nation land, near Spallumcheen’s Hullcar area, in December 2010.
Earlier this year, CanKor offered to do a $100,000 to $200,000 feasibility study on incineration at no cost to the regional district. RDNO was asked to provide staff for the process.
CanKor also requested that it be included in any request for proposals if the regional district decides to pursue an incineration project.
Waste-to-energy technology could be considered as part of RDNO’s solid waste management plan review in 2016.
If the process is to be considered, director Jim Garlick says the district should do the study.
“It’s not the right way having a company with a vested interest doing the work for us,” he said.
Director Mike Macnabb says to provide a sufficient flow of waste for incineration, recycling efforts would have to be abandoned.
“We’d be sending the wrong message — ‘Throw it in the garbage. You don’t have to be responsible,’” he said.
However, some board members wanted to give CanKor a chance.
“When we shut down an opportunity for people to do a study, we shut down an opportunity for options (to deal with waste),” said director Shirley Fowler.
Director Kevin Acton says consideration of alternative waste management shouldn’t wait until 2016.
“I have felt ashamed at how we’re dealing with our garbage and I want something done about it,” he said.
CanKor officials are disappointed with the regional district’s decision.
“Maybe there’s not enough education,” said Hak Sung Lee, a company director.
“Alternative energy is a very efficient approach. There would be job creation.”
Lee says his company will continue to pursue a location for an incinerator.
“Kamloops and Cache Creek are a potential area.”