Following an extensive public consultation process in 2019, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD) has purchased property on Campbell Hill Drive East (the former chip reload plant site) between Ashcroft and Cache Creek for the construction of a new Eco-Depot, which will serve residents of the two villages and the surrounding area.
“It’s a done deal,” says Jamie Vieira, the TNRD’s Manager of Environmental Services. Two parcels of land owned by Metro Vancouver, totalling 94 hectares, have been purchased for a combined price of $435,000. The Eco-Depot site will only require approximately four hectares, but both parcels needed to be purchased in order to get access to the site.
The majority of both properties is within the boundaries of the Village of Cache Creek, although a portion of one property is within the TNRD. When constructed, the Eco-Depot site will be within the Village of Cache Creek, but the site itself will not be visible from Highway 1.
Although it is still very early days in the construction of the Eco-Depot, Vieira said they wanted to ease people’s minds regarding the possibility that the site would be developed at Boston Flats, which was the original plan. There was considerable public opposition to the Boston Flats location when the announcement was made last March, and in April the TNRD board of directors voted against approving rezoning the site.
Public information sessions were held in Ashcroft and Cache Creek last summer, and a survey solicited public feedback about which of three sites — Campbell Hill Drive East, Campbell Hill Drive West (the current transfer station), and Boston Flats — was preferred. Campbell Hill Drive East was the top pick, with Boston Flats second, and the latter was named as the Eco-Depot site if the Campbell Hill Drive East site could not be purchased.
Vieira says that the Eco-Depot is currently in the engineering and design stage, with construction scheduled to begin this summer. He estimates that it will be five to eight months for the Eco-Depot to be complete once shovels are in the ground, and he hopes that the site will be up and running by the end of the year if there are no major hiccups.
The new Eco-Depot will accept many items that cannot currently be recycled at the transfer station, including electronics, paint, and used oil. The site will include a weigh scale for more accurate and equitable disposal fees for waste destined for landfill, and there will be the opportunity for electronic payment (debit and credit cards). People can also continue to use charge accounts, and purchase and use Eco cards, which are available at the Village offices in Ashcroft and Cache Creek, at Safety Mart in Ashcroft, and at the Esso Travel Centre on Cornwall Road.
“People like the convenience [of the Eco cards],” says Vieira. “They like to keep them in their glove box.” He adds that the new site, like the transfer station, will not be able to accept cash payments.
Vieira notes that one way in which the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Eco-Depot will differ from some others within the TNRD is that the two villages have curbside garbage collection. “It means we’ll have many customers just going there with recycling that they can’t put curbside, so they won’t be going to the garbage side across the scale. We’ve designed the site with that in mind.
“A unique feature compared with other Eco-Depots is that there will be an indoor recycling facility, with people there to help you sort. The other Eco-Depots mostly have outdoor [recycling] sheds. The indoor facility makes it more convenient and easy for customers and staff.”
The TNRD will still continue to provide its annual no-charge day in the spring, when residential customers (not businesses) can bring in one truck-load of materials that normally incur charges — such as furniture and mattresses — for free. The date of this year’s no-charge day will be announced in the next few weeks.
Vieira says that the Ashcroft/Cache Creek Eco-Depot project has been in the works since the TNRD took over operation of the existing transfer station in late 2016, when the Cache Creek landfill closed.
“We’ve always planned on replacing the current facility with a full service Eco-Depot so we can provide the same recycling and disposal services to the Cache Creek and Ashcroft area residents that we do in other communities. We’re very excited to see this project moving forward.
“This location strikes a good balance between providing a convenient location for residents of both communities and respecting the concerns of residents who opposed a new Eco-Depot being built in Boston Flats.”