Members of the Capital Regional District environmental services committee discussed a proposal to end the current integrated resource management (IRM) process, which aimed to bring the processing of various waste streams, including sewage biosolids, into one facility at Hartland. In a split vote, the committee approved the idea of separating the processing elements, and the CRD board later approved the recommendation. crd.bc.ca

CRD board votes to end integrated waste procurement process

Separating the processing of the region’s waste streams to be pursued, possibly still at Hartland

In a split vote and following a lengthy and sometimes heated debate over the advantages of continuing on the path toward integrating waste stream processing at Hartland, or moving to eliminate some of the unknowns in the equation, the Capital Regional District board on Wednesday approved ending the current IRM procurement process.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was the lead proponent of pursuing a different tack for dealing with sewage biosolids, kitchen waste and municipal garbage. Having helped convince enough members of the CRD’s environmental services committee Wednesday that the integrated route was no longer the best plan, Helps quietly made the same arguments to the CRD board, many of whom sat in the earlier meeting and voiced the same appeals to stay the course.

RELATED: CRD staff, Victoria mayor call for shift in direction on sewage sludge processing

Helps said one of the things that turned the tide for her in recent weeks was the fact the preferred proponent for the region’s residuals treatment facility came in with an “under-budget proposal” that produced dry biosolids, a more marketable product than “wet Class A biosolids,” which cannot be placed on land by CRD bylaw.

“We just learned that in early December that our preferred proponent gave us more for less,” she said. “That dry material has a market. It might be that we need to pay to get it taken away, but we don’t know that yet.”

Other items passed by the board included issuing a request for proposals for the “beneficial reuse” of the dried sludge alone, and investigating an in-region (at Hartland) or near-region kitchen scraps and organic waste processing facility. The city’s kitchen scraps are currently shipped to Delta at a cost of $114 a tonne.

Saanich Mayor Richard Atwell, who voted against the IRM motions in every instance, showed the committee and board a video of a $10-million sludge processing machine built in Sedro Wooley, Wash. and funded by the Gates Foundation, that is being manufactured and shipped to Africa to deal with sanitary waste issues. Atwell remarked that the equipment, just one idea he personally investigated, would cost “$200 million less than building a pipeline from McLoughlin Point to Hartland.”

Choosing to end the IRM process shuts the door on such technologies, he said after the board vote.

Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins and Metchosin Mayor John Ranns also spoke forcefully on how much work has already been done to investigate technology options, and that better ones are out there.

“Concluding our [IRM research] at this time just accentuates to people that we have wasted money and wasted time,” Desjardins said.

Ranns, whose rural municipality will not participate in the sewage treatment program but is part of other waste stream processing in the region, called the move “switching horses in mid-stream” and pointed to uncertainty around the marketability of the end product, dried biosolids. He added that it was “scandalous” to be tossing aside a process that has worked well to find information about potential options.

Supporters of the switch made less emotional comments. Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen said “it felt to some of us like IRM was some sort of fool’s gold we were chasing,” given that its mandate of integrating all waste streams was found to be uncharted territory by a CRD consultant. Langford Coun. Denise Blackwell said in her discussions with industry IRM was deemed to be a “pipe dream.”

editor@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Saanich rides ahead with Active Transportation Plan

Saanich plans to double the share of all trips made by active transportation by 2050.

Suman, mom of Reena Virk, has died

Mother of 1997 murder victim became an activist against bullying

CRD tightens leash on dog walkers

Five regional parks in Sooke now have new restrictions on dogs

Sausage Fest runs June 23 from noon to 9 p.m. at Willows Beach Park

Grab a sausage and drink and enjoy live music or watch your… Continue reading

Remains of two people found in Ucluelet

Officials have not said whether or not the remains belong to Ryan Daley or Dan Archbald

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

AFN cheif accused of being too close to Trudeau

Perry Bellegarde insists he is not that close to the Liberals as elections looms

Three injured after industrial explosion in Newfoundland

The roof of the warehouse was blown off in the explosion near St. John’s

Ottawa Senators trade Mike Hoffman, less than a week after allegations involving partner

Following the trade Senators make no mention of allegations against Hoffman’s partner

Drive-thru voting in Saanich crashes over environmental concerns

Environmental concerns over climate change could stall drive-thru voting in Saanich. Angila… Continue reading

Late goal gives England 2-1 win over Tunisia

At the last World Cup in 2014, England couldn’t even win a game

Canadian military police officer pleads not guilty to sex assault

Sgt. Kevin MacIntyre, 48, entered his plea today at a court martial proceeding in Halifax

Cheers erupt as Federal Court judge approves historic gay purge settlement

Gay military veterans said they were interrogated, harassed and spied on because of their sexuality

Helping B.C.’s helpers cope

The MRT has helped almost 7,000 first responders and street workers in 57 communities in B.C.

Most Read