Oak Bay pilots household compost project

Year-long, 50-home study explores point-of-source composting

David Brozuk

David Brozuk

Oak Bay embarks on a pilot to investigate on-site composting this spring.

When the contract for organic curbside pickup expires at the end of 2017, municipal staff hope to have some options for council to consider.

“We can extend the contract but we feel it’s prudent to look at some options,” said David Brozuk, superintendent of public works.

“One possibility is moving to point-of-source organic composting.”

That means replacing curbside pickup with at-home compost units.

Currently organic material is picked up, barged to the Lower Mainland, processed and hauled back to Oak Bay where it’s sold to residents.

“Those costs yearly are just over $250,000,” Brozuk said.

Council approved up to $35,000 for a year-long look at 50 or so residences with on-site composters and gather feedback.

The full year gives participants an opportunity to experience all seasons and the challenges those may bring.

While any program implementation would need to go out for tender, staff selected a sturdy composter for the pilot project.

“We’re looking at units that are durable, low odour and pest resistant,” Brozuk said.

The community already has a handful of bins scattered about, for example there’s one at Willows Park, Henderson, near municipal hall and at the public works yard on Elgin Road.

Residents in the pilot would provide feedback, both voluntarily and through a questionnaire every few months.

Staff would offer that information back to council next year in anticipation of the contract expiry.