Developing an Island solution for kitchen scraps is on hold and Oak Bay’s organic waste continues to be shipped to the Lower Mainland.
“We are in a holding pattern,” said Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen.
CRD staff suggested a “pause on the process” because the CRD’s core area liquid waste committee has embarked on a market sounding process for technologies to process liquid waste that could incorporate kitchen scraps and municipal solid waste.
“In the meantime, kitchen scraps in Oak Bay are being sent to a processing plant in Richmond,” Jensen said.
Kitchen waste from Victoria, View Royal, Esquimalt and Sidney are also transported to Harvest Power.
“It’s unfortunate, I think, but we know the carbon footprint of shipping it to the Richmond energy garden is better than landfilling. It prolongs the life of Hartland [landfill]. We’ll be hard-pressed to find a new landfilll site so close so whatever we can do to prolong the life is good,” said Oak Bay Coun. Michelle Kirby.
“I just hope this doesn’t delay construction of a local facility by any great extent because we need it as soon as possible.”
As Hartland landfill set about banning kitchen waste to start this year, last fall the board tasked CRD staff to see if there was a way to “establish a processing society in region or in proximity to the region.”
They received 15 proposals.
However, staff expect the market sounding to look at residual solids from liquid waste process and how kitchen scraps could be integrated.
“Clearly we’re going to accumulate a sizable quantity of diverted kitchen scraps with potentially no solution other than sending them offshore,” said Central Saanich Mayor Ryan Windsor. “I’m wondering what potential is there that this could take years to resolve?”
CRD staff suggest it could only be a couple of months until the market sounding results come back. Those results too were a concern for Windsor, where Central Saanich has dipped into the issue of biosolids use on farmland.
“It’s fairly obvious when the proposal of combining biosolids with other scraps and creating a soil… the community responds in a way that is not positive, to put it lightly. But I’ll wait to see the report back in a couple months.”
It’s a stance the CRD has also taken in the past, vowing no biosolid use on land.
“There seems to be a clear policy that we’ve taken as a board that it not be done in this region,” said Jensen, adding it would be a collision of policies. “Before we can even consider that we would have to go back and revisit a policy which was already revisited twice I think with the application of biosolids.”
As for the timeline, the next step would have been a shortlisting which takes time, so staff presume a couple months is within reasonable timelines to respond to those who submitted the 15 proposals.
“I would rather see us move forward sooner rather than later … operators may not be so keen down the road,” Windsor said.