An effort to block Metro Vancouver from exporting its garbage to the U.S. as a fallback waste-disposal option was defeated at last week’s Union of B.C. Municipalities convention.
Cache Creek Mayor John Ranta spoke in support of the TNRD-backed resolution to ban all international exports of landfillable waste, arguing his town stands to lose more than 100 waste-handling jobs at the Cache Creek Regional Landfill if Metro halts its shipments in 2016 as planned.
Metro plans to build a new waste-to-energy plant but that’s not expected to be ready until late 2018 and it has reserved the temporary option of exporting garbage if necessary.
“We have the best climate and the right geology to safely dispose of waste in our area,” Ranta said.
But Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt, former chair of Metro’s Solid Waste Committee, said the resolution was out of order because it would violate international trade deals.
“These are goods that can be exported just like coal or gas or wood,” he said of garbage.
Hunt also noted some B.C. communities – including Whistler and Powell River – already export their waste to a Washington State landfill run by Rabanco, which hopes to land Metro Vancouver as a customer as well.
“[A provincial ban] would make all those contracts null and void, which is contrary to international free trade,” he said.
Hunt said U.S. exports are just one option for Metro and the regional district could still negotiate to extend its use of the Cache Creek landfill if it needs to send more waste out of the region.