Metro Vancouver's existing waste-to-energy plant in south Burnaby burns 285

Nanaimo on radar as potential incinerator site

Metro Vancouver open to barging garbage across strait to Vancouver Island, among other options

The possibility that a new waste-to-energy incinerator might be built on Vancouver Island has caused a stir among Nanaimo-area politicians who fear Metro Vancouver’s garbage may be shipped their way.

Nanaimo Regional District area A director Alec McPherson told Black Press he’s “very concerned” the incinerator might be built at Duke Point, south of Nanaimo.

No specific proposal has been made public for that part of the island.

But Metro Vancouver officials have notified all Vancouver Island regional districts that the search for prospective sites includes their regions.

Municipalities, regional districts, other branches of government and private property owners can all step forward and propose their land as a potential host site for the new waste-to-energy plant.

Locations both inside Metro Vancouver and outside the region must be fairly considered, according to an environment ministry directive.

A short list of potential sites is to be drawn up by November.

One potential site on the far side of Vancouver Island is a former pulp mill at Gold River, which would require Metro waste to be barged all the way around the island.

A Nanaimo-area site would offer much closer shipping, and might require no barging at all if garbage loads were instead sent via Tsawwassen-Duke Point ferries.

Fraser Valley Regional District directors are strongly opposed to the construction of any new garbage incinerator in the Lower Mainland, citing the risk of increased air pollution in the constrained Valley airshed.

Fraser Valley politicians have said they would have no such grounds to object to a remote incineration site like Gold River.

But what about Nanaimo?

“That would not be in our airshed,” FVRD vice-chair Patricia Ross said. “It wouldn’t necessarily affect us and our airshed and our agriculture here. But that does not mean we would find it acceptable.”

Ross said the FVRD is concerned that any pursuit of waste-to-energy incineration in B.C. will lead to more garbage being burned, rather than recycled.

She said the FVRD is limited to air quality concerns for formally opposing whatever plant Metro proposes, but would work to assist opponents in Nanaimo, if a site is proposed there.

“We don’t feel comfortable saying it’s okay to put it there,” Ross said. “That would be up to those folks to decide.”

The new waste-to-energy plant is to be built by 2018 and be able to handle 370,000 tonnes of garbage per year. Metro is in the early stages of a complex procurement process.

The ability to effectively use the power produced, potentially through a district energy system, is one of the site selection criteria to be considered.

Christianne Wilhelmson of the Georgia Strait Alliance said she doesn’t like the idea of moving garbage by water.

“I think the model of barging over waste from Metro Vancouver to Nanaimo is deeply deeply flawed and not well thought out,” she said.

Wilhelmson said she mainly objects to the export of waste on sustainability grounds, adding garbage barges likely pose less risk to the marine environment than oil tankers or the federally authorized dumping of soil in the strait.

Garbage is already moving on B.C.’s coastal waterways.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District and Powell River both ship their garbage via barge to Metro Vancouver, where the containers are put onto rail and sent south, along with trainloads of trash from Whistler, to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in southern Washington State.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Despite evacuation, coronavirus-quarantined White Rock couple still two weeks from home

Government chartered plane to help cruising Canadians return from Japan

Trade sends Surrey NHLer Brenden Dillon to Washington

‘We felt it was important for us to add a player of his caliber to our defensive group,’ says Caps GM

Construction begins on Highway 91/17 improvements in Delta

Project includes new interchanges at Highway 17/Highway 91 Connector and at River Road/Highway 17

Suspect in Surrey forcible confinement arrested in Toronto

Constable Richard Wright, of the Surrey RCMP, said William Daniels-Sey was arrested on Feb. 16

Outdoor AED unit in Surrey among the first in B.C.

SaveStation cabinet is alarmed and monitored – and hasn’t been used yet

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Trees Cannabis director fined $1.5M for selling marijuana

Fine follows provincial crackdown on popular dispensary

World Cup skier from Okanagan dies suddenly at 19

Kuroda, who made his World Cup debut earlier this year, passed away suddenly Monday night.

Coastal GasLink pipeline investor committed to closing deal despite protests

Developer TC Energy Corp. — formerly TransCanada Corp. — is to remain the operator of the $6.6-billion pipeline

New highway proposed between Alberta and B.C.

The route would connect Red Deer to Kamloops

What’s in a name? The story of Revelstoke’s Mt. Begbie

It’s likely the iconic peak had several Indigenous peoples’ names before settlers arrived

Budget 2020: B.C. Liberals blast ‘Netflix tax,’ lack of economic plan

ICBC rates still go up, except in election year, Shirley Bond says

Teen snowmobiler from Kelowna found after air force’s overnight search

The teen had been missing since just after 6 p.m. on Monday

Two law enforcement trucks ‘deliberately’ set on fire in northern B.C., RCMP say

Police say they have video evidence of a person in the area of the truck fires

Most Read

l -->