Jan 23/08: Land Claim Fears Scuttle Metro Vancouver's Cache Creek Trash Plans ...
Uncertainty over native land claims is forcing Metro Vancouver to
abandon a decade of planning for new landfills in which to bury the
Instead, Metro Vancouver's waste committee recommended Tuesday, the
region should temporarily ship its garbage to Washington state or to
the Vancouver landfill in Delta, and scramble for new ways to dispose
of more than half a million tonnes of trash a year.
The committee proposed building a centralized waste-to-energy
processing plant in Vancouver -- which could generate enough energy to
power 50,000 homes -- and a greatly expanded composting program.
The waste-to-energy plant would require tipping fees to be doubled
from $65 per tonne to about $130, said Marvin Hunt, a Surrey
councillor who chairs the waste committee.
However, the composting plan, at $42 per tonne, would reduce the
amount of garbage subject to the higher fees.
The committee's recommendations signal an end to years of trying to
establish a new or expanded landfill site at Ashcroft, Cache Creek or
Highland Valley Copper's open-pit mine site near Logan Lake.
The region had almost completed an environmental assessment several
years ago of the site at Ashcroft, where it had bought a ranch to
serve as the new landfill. But the provincial government pulled the
plug on the process amid fears that first nations would seek
aboriginal title to the site and establish a precedent that would make
privately owned land subject to native land claims for the first time.
The region started the search for a disposal site again from scratch,
but now appears to be deciding that the landfill era is coming to an
The writing on the wall came in a letter from Chief Bob Pasco of the
Nlaka'pamux Nation Tribal Council, who told the provincial government
that "the era of our nation being the transportation corridor and
dumping ground for Vancouver's garbage is now over."
Hunt said until a waste-to-energy plant is built, the biggest
challenge will be dealing with the interim waste -- or finding a new
place for it.
"We should be negotiating with the City of Vancouver [for use of the
Vancouver landfill]," Hunt said.
"If we can't come to a reasonable agreement, we can use Washington
State, because Washington State has already agreed to take it."
Metro Vancouver chairwoman Lois Jackson said she supports the new
direction for garbage away from landfills.
"I support the plan from an environmental and logical point of view,"
Jackson, who is also mayor of Delta, said in an interview. "We should
have been doing this a long time ago, rather than continuation of
She said she will support the committee's recommendations in Friday's
Metro Vancouver board meeting, which is likely to make a final
"I want to get to where, No. 1, we have no landfilling -- we cover it
with trees," said Jackson. "We have waste-to-energy facilities, we
have everyone in their homes taking their kitchen garbage and putting
it in an area that goes to composting for everyone in the region."