PRRD examining solid waste options

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Tom Summer Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
The Local Journalism Initiative (LJI) supports the creation of original civic journalism. Tom Summer works under the Alaska Highway News in Fort St. John. The content that is produced will be made available to media organizations through a Creative Commons license so that Canadians can be better informed.

DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District is examining new options for solid waste services and system financing.

On April 23, environmental consultant Veronica Bartlett from Morrison Hershfield went before the board to review previously discussed priorities and strategies. 

“There’s certainly more interest in a regional solution for energy recovery and residual waste management, for both organics and non-recyclable materials” said Bartlett. 

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Two outstanding issues are curbside collection in rural areas and illegal dumping. Rural curbside would cost around $1.4 million if implemented.

“Recycling and garbage disposal is less accessible compared to municipal collection,” said Bartlett.

Illegal dumping continues to be a problem, with the PRRD offering spring and fall cleanup programs in order to combat the issue. Dumping primarily takes place on Crown land, said Bartlett, and suggested an outreach program could reduce it.

“There’s an opportunity to get feedback from stakeholders, such as the agricultural community,” said Bartlett.

Harmonizing residential disposal rates is also listed among the priorities. As of May 1, residents pay $55 per tonne for bulk household waste including furniture, and 80 cents per bag for small household waste. Wood, metal, and animal carcasses are also charged at $55 per tonne, with a $6 fee each for tires. Unsorted waste is charged at $110 per tonne.

A lower priority option is to send waste in neighbouring regions like Alberta, where it can be managed, said Bartlett. Ensuring an efficient waste facility network and improving access to local waste services are also listed among the PRRD’s priorities.

The PRRD developed a regional solid waste management plan starting in 2009, with a refresh in 2016. The plan is focused on three areas: efficiency of programs and services, the three R’s (reduce, reuse, and recycle), and sustainability.

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Fifteen transfer stations were built in 2012 to 2016, with six more to be added by 2021. Share sheds were added to all stations in 2014, along with wood waste management and composting. The Chetwynd landfill is set to close, with a transfer station option being looked into.

Email reporter Tom Summer at tsummer@ahnfsj.ca.

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