The Thompson-Nicola Regional District will extend the hours at seven of its eco-depots and transfer stations, including the new Cache Creek Eco-Depot when it opens this summer.
The board agreed Thursday to a staff recommendation to extend the summer season for five transfer stations – 70 Mile House, Loon Lake, Heffley Creek, Louis Creek and Paul Lake – to October. This means these eco-depots would effectively be open for an additional four Sundays in the summer, while plans are in the works for increasing the hours year-round hours in Cache Creek and Savona.
The move, which would cost another $43,110 in operating costs, is based on a comprehensive review of site use data such as operational concerns, hourly customer counts, annual tonnage and revenue, as well as a public survey in 2021. Of that cost, $23,640 is for the new Cache Creek Eco-Depot, which is slated to open in August and is already budgeted for this year.
The recommendation will go to the TNRD board for a vote on Thursday, May 5.
“We had committed to do this periodically to ensure we are still meeting the needs of the community,” said Adriana Mailloux, TNRD’s environmental services technologist.
Mailloux noted 205,247 customers visited the region’s transfer stations in 2021, bringing in $2.3 million in revenue. The area’s population has also grown 8.4 per cent over the past five years, according to the most recent Census, which means there will be an increased demand for solid waste services.
The Cache Creek Eco-Depot – the ninth busiest and fifth-largest site for tonnage in the region – is slated to operate earlier and longer once the new facility opens on Campbell Hill Drive East, across Highway 1 from the landfill. The hours are anticipated to be Tuesday to Sunday from 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. year-round – eight hours more than the temporary eco-depot, which is now open Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There will be no hourly changes to the current eco-depot.
“What we saw in the survey is that respondents would like earlier access to the facility,” Mailloux said. “There’s usually a lineup by the time they open the site up at 10 a.m. and then it drops way down at 4 p.m.”
The TNRD is also considering a possible opening for commercial traffic only on Monday, although Mailloux said they are still in discussions with haulers and no decision has been made.
Ashcroft Mayor Barbara Roden questioned whether there would be a re-education campaign to encourage people to start recycling once the Eco-Depot opens, noting many people have stopped using the transfer station “because it’s on the mountainside.
“People have fallen out of the habit of recycling and it’s going to need an education campaign to reacquaint people and let them know what the eco-depot will offer that is not currently available at the transfer station, like the hazardous waste drop off,” Roden said.
Mailloux said they would commit to an education and community awareness campaign to get people on board.
Director Steven Rice, who represents Electoral Area I, also asked if there was an opportunity to have a field day at the new Eco-Depot, noting “there’s a lot of angst and anxiety in our community because of floods and fires” in his community and it would be good to show some transparency.
“There might be an appetite to have a public field day at the new eco-depot to inform the folks, let them see the site and progress being made,” he said. “It looks like it’s going to be a wonderful facility.”