A community meeting in Cache Creek on November 21 drew more than 60 people out to hear about the current status of the Cache Creek landfill, changes there when the landfill closes on December 31, 2016, and the village’s recent purchase of a new garbage truck and bins.
Cache Creek mayor John Ranta said that a top cap is being put in at the current landfill site, which is operated by Wastech and owned by Belkorp. “It’s very busy getting closed.” The landfill stopped accepting garbage from Metro Vancouver in July, and since then has only been accepting waste from the western portion of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD), from communities including Cache Creek, Ashcroft, Clinton, and Lytton.
A closure period plan (CPP), announced on July 1, 2016, was open to appeal for 30 days. On July 29, a letter was received from a lawyer representing the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District, a local government board of Metro Vancouver, appealing the planned closure; a letter dated that same day put the appeal in abeyance, suspending but not cancelling it.
Higher than expected levels of chloride in leachate from the site—the result of unsuccessful treatment of fly ash—means that groundwater mitigation, including wells, will have to be done, to ensure that contaminated water does not get into water sources. It is estimated that this groundwater mitigation of the site will cost some $6.75 million, which is the responsibility of Metro Vancouver due to the nature of its contract with Wastech.
“I suspect the motive for the appeal of the CPP is to avoid putting in groundwater wells and treatment of the leachate,” said Ranta, who is confident that the appeal will fail. A member of the audience who is a member of the Landfill Advisory Committee noted that “The whole fly ash question has been a pain, and now it’s coming back to bite us.”
Ranta then spoke of the proposed landfill extension, which he noted would be a completely new landfill operating under a new certificate. The intent to issue an operating certificate was issued on July 27, with a 30-day comment period. Six separate comments from two people were received, but it was determined that their comments had already been addressed.
On November 7, the village received a letter indicating the intention to move towards issuing the operating certificate for the landfill extension within two weeks. By the time of the meeting nothing had been received, but Ranta says he is “optimistic” that the certificate will be issued.
He is also optimistic that the board of Belkorp will go ahead with approval of the extension, and says that if that happens, work could start in the spring of 2017.
However, if the operational certificate is appealed, he said the board of Belkorp might decide to wait until the appeal is heard before deciding to go ahead, which could push work on the extension back to summer 2017.
“We’re getting there,” said Ranta, “but it seems like it takes a long time.”
Jamie Vieira, manager of environmental services for the TNRD, was on hand to talk about what happens at the site starting on January 1, 2017. He noted that the TNRD has had no hand in the operation of the landfill, and has been paying tipping fees for the loads they have deposited there from the western portion of the TNRD.
As of January 1, however, the TNRD will be stepping in to manage the residential drop-off (RDO) at the landfill. Vieira noted that there will be no changes to the municipal garbage collection schedule; that the recycling depots near the Cache Creek post office and at the RDO will remain in place; that winter hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday) will stay the same; and that materials accepted at the RDO will not change.
Municipal waste will be trucked to the TNRD landfill at Heffley Creek, north of Kamloops. “The cost of hauling garbage from Cache Creek to Heffley Creek is a big one for the TNRD,” noted Vieira. That is one of the reasons why tipping fees will be implemented at the site starting January 1 (another is that it meets the requirements of a TNRD bylaw).
“A user-pay system was adopted throughout the TNRD in 2007 as part of the Regional Solid Waste Management Plan,” said Vieira, “and implemented in 2008. The fees cover approximately 20 per cent of the solid waste cost.”
To that end, disposal fees in line with the TNRD bylaw—fees which are already paid in most other TNRD communities—will be implemented at the RDO as of January 1. Vieira stressed that most items commonly taken to the landfill—such as yard waste and recyclables—can still be taken there at no charge. A leaflet outlining what can be taken there, and what fees will be incurred, will be distributed in the next few weeks.
A resident asked whether the semi-annual “clean ups” offered by the village would continue. Ranta replied that that was at the will of council, but said that he hopes council will support continuation of the clean ups.
Vieira noted that the Village of Cache Creek will pay a fee for municipal dumping based on the size of the truck, in common with all other communities in the TNRD. When questioned, he said that the TNRD has no plans to revisit the current rates for dumping (which will be based on volume) anytime soon. He added that Belkorp will continue to operate the Cache Creek RDO with their staff.
Cache Creek chief administrative officer Keir Gervais spoke about the village’s new garbage truck and bins. The truck is a single-axle, semi-automated Haul-All which should be able to navigate all Cache Creek roads, and which has a slightly larger capacity than the current garbage truck.
“That truck is 15 years old, and had a lifespan of eight years,” said Gervais. “I think we’ve squeezed everything we can out of it.” He noted to The Journal that the new truck is compatible with the garbage bins in place in Ashcroft, so that if the garbage truck in either community is out of action, the truck from the other community can step in to help.
Council approved purchase of the new truck—at a cost of $233,000—this summer, and Gervais said that it will provide more operational efficiencies than the current system, as well as health and safety improvements for the operator. The new truck is ideal for curbside collection, and can also handle the old commercial bins in use in the village.
Council also approved the purchase of 525 65-gallon wheeled garbage bins at a cost of $75 each, one of which will be distributed to every residence early in the New Year when the new truck arrives. Anticipating questions from the audience, Gervais said that there would be no charge to residents for the bins, which will be identified by serial numbers.
In response to a question about maintenance/wear and tear issues on the bins, Gervais noted that he had met with Ashcroft staff earlier that day and addressed that question (Ashcroft implemented similar bins for residents in 2012). “In five years, Ashcroft has had one stolen and one missing bin, and no maintenance issues.” He added that residents were urged to treat their garbage bin like a bike. “It’s yours. Look after it.”
Gervais noted that the bins need a one metre area around them so that the garbage truck can pick them up, adding that this information will be distributed in a flyer to residents. A good point of reference, he added, is to look at where the bins are dropped by the village crew when they are distributed in early 2017. “Where the bin is dropped off is where you should put it for collection.”