Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta could not contain his bitter disappointment in the Provincial Government’s decision announced last week to allow incineration as a means of disposing of Metro Vancouver’s garbage as an alternative to landfilling.
Ranta, who has lobbied untiringly for the past several years on behalf of the more than 120 Wastech employees and the citizens of the area who have enjoyed the benefits of royalties from the operation, questioned how the decision fulfilled Premier Christy Clark’s stated support for the protection of jobs in rural BC.
Mayor Ranta reported at the July 25th council meeting that he had received a heads up phone call from Minister Terry Lake that morning to inform him he would be to delivering the Provincial Government’s decision to the media that afternoon approving Metro Vancouver’s Solid Waste Management Plan with conditions attached.
“In the short term, there should be no impact to the Cache Creek Land Fill” the minister said, “and I believe there are opportunities for an ongoing relationship with Metro and other regional districts. I will also work alongside local leaders and organizations to look for other economic opportunities for the two communities (Cache Creek and Ashcroft).”
“Metro Vancouver will now have the ability to pursue a mix of options for managing waste, provided they balance the interest of surrounding communities that share their airshed,” said Lake. “I’m confident this plan will reduce the amount of garbage generated in the region and provide strong environmental protection.”
However, Mayor Ranta feels that while the Metro Vancouver plan has been approved by the province, there is still a mountain to climb in getting the support for the incineration plan from the Upper
“Those municipalities are challenged to protect their air shed and have, throughout the process, vociferously protested any consideration of incineration.” Ranta said in informing his council and Village about the decision.
The press release issued by the Ministry of Environment outlines a number of conditions designe
Among those conditions, Metro Vancouver must:
Recognize that the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) and Metro Vancouver share a common and critically important air shed,
And if Metro Vancouver pursues establishing additional in-region WTE capacity, it shall consult with the FVRD to address air quality concerns prior to beginning construction of a new or expanded facility.
At a minimum, Metro Vancouver must establish a working group with the FVRD on the potential impact to the airshed due to additional WTE capacity. The working group may include the local health authority(s) and must, within one year of any Metro Vancouver decision to pursue in-region WTE.
However, the Ministry of Environment warns: approval to pursue WTE under a solid waste management plan should not be considered a license to burn garbage. Proposed WTE facilities require a number of further authorizations – beyond approval as part of a SWMP – before they can be built and begin operation. The details of these authorizations will vary depending on the size, location and type of technology proposed for the facility.
The Ministry of Environment also requires communities to target 70 per cent waste diversion through reducing, reusing and recycling before they consider waste-to-energy as an alternative to landfilling.