Jan 30/08: Metro Vancouver Board Adopts Three-pronged Approach to Reduction and Recycling ...
The clock ran out for Metro Vancouver, in its bid to find an
Interior landfill solution for the Lower Mainland’s garbage.
“I can say that the entire board was absolutely frustrated and has
been for the past 10 years, at how the goal posts kept changing,” said
Langley Township Mayor Kurt Alberts.
“The bottom line is, we’ve been looking at this . . . for 16 years,”
said Langley City Councillor and Metro director Gayle Martin.
“It has been a very frustrating process, and I have been there from
the beginning,” Martin said Tuesday.
Metro Vancouver (Greater Vancouver Regional District) voted Friday to
adopt a three-pronged approach of reduction and recycling; waste to
energy; and burying the rest of local waste, either at the Vancouver
Landfill adjacent to Burns Bog, or at a Washington State’s
privately-owned Rabanco landfill site.
Alberts, a director on the regional district board, said Metro
Vancouver had undertaken all the required environmental processes,
only to learn that the province wanted them to go back and take
The process was further complicated by the provincial requirement that
any landfill needed First Nations endorsement, even when on
Alberts said the Ashcroft Ranch property had been purchased before the
province decided First Nations landfill approval would be required on
Failure to get a resolution, either on Cache Creek expansion or the
Ashcroft property, resulted in the board decision Friday, he said.
Alberts said there was a move to delay the decision another 60 days.
That didn’t pass because many of the directors around the table had
been involved with the province for the past 10 years, and felt
another 60 days could achieve no resolution, Alberts said.
Martin said that she was surprised by an Ashcroft First Nation chief’s
statement that his band had never been consulted, but had no objection
to the ranch land landfill.
And she was surprised that Chief Robert Pasco of the Nlaka’pamux
Tribal Council said First Nations still want to negotiate an Interior
She said Pasco had been on record in the past as positively opposed to
any Lower Mainland garbage landfill sites in the Interior.
Both Martin and Alberts said time had run out, and it was felt
imperative to give Metro staff a directive to start working on an
“We were supposed to have a replacement site (for the Cache Creek
landfill) by the end of this year,” Martin said.
And the Cache Creek site will be full in 2010.
While Logan Lake has also made a bid to accommodate Metro garbage at
an old mine, that too would also require First Nations endorsement.
With a large number of First Nations opposed to landfills in the
interior, the regional board felt no consensus was possible in time to
meet the looming garbage crunch of 2010.
The Metro Vancouver board asked staff to look at large-scale diversion
through recycling and composting; waste-to-energy plants that will
burn garbage to generate electrical power, and dumping either at the
Vancouver landfill or at Rabanco.
Alberts said that while there are challenges to burning waste for
energy, there are examples of clean-burning plants in other parts of
“From what I can understand, the technology is top-notch,” said
She said even the ash is burned in modern incinerators.
Martin said while shipping Lower Mainland garbage to Washington State
may not be politically correct, it may be the best solution.
One positive aspect of the Rabanco option is that the garbage would be
shipped by rail, not truck, she said.