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Maintain planned 2015 ban on food scraps at Hartland landfill, CRD directors urged

Capital Regional District staff are recommending against delaying the 2015 ban on food scraps at the Hartland landfill, even though the only local food-scraps processing facility has had its recycler licence pulled.
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A City of Victoria worker picks up kitchen scraps in James Bay.

Capital Regional District staff are recommending against delaying the 2015 ban on food scraps at the Hartland landfill, even though the only local food-scraps processing facility has had its recycler licence pulled.

“Delaying the kitchen- scraps ban date is not recommended, as it will prevent the region from achieving its waste diversion and public education goals,” says a staff report to go to CRD directors on Wednesday. It also says a delay would affect use of trucks and bins acquired by some municipalities and private contractors for the kitchen-scraps collection program in anticipation of the 2015 landfill ban.

Instead, the CRD should both investigate composting options up-Island and put out a call for proposals to the private sector to develop a food-scrap composting facility at the Hartland Road landfill, the staff report suggests.

Continuing to truck food scraps up-Island for processing could be as viable as processing them locally, the staff report says.

“We want to look at all of the possible options, including a facility at Hartland and including the possibility of contracting with private composters,” said environmental services committee chairman Nils Jensen.

The report recommends spending $85,000 to upgrade and expand the scraps transfer station at Hartland to ensure access for all municipal and private haulers, and issuing a tender to evaluate options for hauling and processing of kitchen scraps from Hartland. At the same time, a proposals should be sought into the possibility of developing a scraps-processing facility at Hartland as a public/private partnership, it recommends.

The CRD could then evaluate the results of the proposals against a tender for a private sector hauling and processing contract from Hartland to determine the best long-term option.

In the meantime, staff recommend delaying until April 1, 2014, the 20 per cent kitchen-scraps surcharge that was to be charged at Hartland effective Jan. 1.

But not everyone agrees. Committee member and CRD vice-chairwoman Denise Blackwell thinks the region should postpone the scrap ban until processing facilities are in place.

“I don’t think [the ban] is a good idea until we have a place that we know for sure that can take it and it won’t smell and there won’t be issues — like, for example, Hartland,” she said.

The CRD staff recommendations come in the wake of the suspension of the licence of Foundation Organics’ composting plant in Central Saanich. Foundation was the only locally licensed processor, but had its processing contract and recycler licence suspended after repeated complaints from neighbours about litter and noxious odours. As a result, the facility has been prohibited from receiving and processing food waste.

On Monday, Michell Brothers Farm, which won the five-year, $4.7-million contract to process household kitchen scraps from Saanich, notified the municipality it was withdrawing its bid in light of the Central Saanich controversy.

Food scraps collected in Greater Victoria now are being trucked over the Malahat to Fisher Road Holdings in Cobble Hill, but that operation apparently is nearing its licensed capacity. CRD directors have decided to landfill any excess.

Saanich Mayor Frank Leonard said his staff are evaluating the municipality’s options in light of the Michell Brothers decision.

“Our staff are looking at the other bidders. They’re looking at the CRD options and they’re also looking at the calendar in terms of which options could be done quickly and which would take a lot of time,” Leonard said.

bcleverley@timescolonist.com