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Central Saanich compost facility, CRD discuss restarting operations

A Central Saanich composting facility has hit the pause button on court action against the Capital Regional District while the two sides discuss whether the company can begin accepting food waste again.
xxxFoundation Organics
Foundation Organics

A Central Saanich composting facility has hit the pause button on court action against the Capital Regional District while the two sides discuss whether the company can begin accepting food waste again.

Victoria lawyer John Alexander, who represents Foundation Organics Ltd., said a court hearing was adjourned last Friday.

“I think the pressure and the bouncing of it onto the desk of the lawyer for the CRD got their attention and so now the parties are talking,” he said.

Alexander said the CRD has agreed to quickly deal with the issue and let the company know by this Friday whether it can resume operations.

The district suspended the company’s licence last month after repeated odour complaints from neighbours.

Foundation Organics appealed the decision to the district, but when it appeared that process could take weeks, the company filed a petition in B.C. Supreme Court.

Alexander said the district now has agreed to deal with amendments to the company’s operations plan.

“We’ve just agreed to adjourn [court proceedings] while we see if we can work through it very quickly,” he said.

“They want an updated operations plan, which was in the works in any event.”

Central Saanich residents reacted with alarm to news that the company could soon be allowed to resume accepting truck loads of food waste.

“We’re really concerned,” said Tanner Ridge resident Anna Clemente, who lives across the highway from the facility, located at 6341 Old East Rd.

“We’re really afraid of what’s going to happen if they let them go back into business, because it’s unbearable for us to live here.”

Dozens of residents were expected to appear before Central Saanich council Tuesday night to voice their concerns.

“We’re locked in our homes because of the smell,” Clemente said.

CRD spokesman Andy Orr said the district’s general manager of environmental services, Larisa Hutcheson, will hear the company’s appeal if that becomes necessary.

Alexander said the company hopes any issues can be resolved with staff this week.

lkines@timescolonist.com