Town council talks waste and disposal

Town to consider aligning with CVRD surrounding areas on waste management and disposal

Organic waste management and disposal continues to be a hot topic at the Town of Lake Cowichan council table.

At last week’s Sustainable Planning and Development Committee meeting at the town hall, superintendent of public works, Nagi Rizk, outlined the idea of picking up yard waste as well as kitchen waste in town, with the new MMBC recycling program well underway now.

“Some people are still unsure of what is allowed, although it’s going along fairly smoothly,” said chief administrator Joe Fernandez with regards to the MMBC program. “All the details are on the MMBC website.”

Rizk then brought up the idea of the town picking up yard waste as well after attending a recent presentation with Coun. Bob Day.

“The superintendent and I recently attended a presentation by Coast Waste Management Association and it was great to get some of the pitfalls from people fresh into the field,” said Day. “Recently in Saanich they sold some containers and bags that were scented with Febreeze. It didn’t go down too well and we shouldn’t do that. As we move forward, I don’t think it should just be a case of food scraps in a bucket.”

Rizk says picking up yard waste as well may affect the size of the in-vessel composter the town would need.

The town is considering buying a vessel called the BIOvator, which converts organic waste into compost for future use.

“It was an interesting presentation and interesting to hear them talk about the collection of yard waste and the impact that would have on the size of the container you would need,” said Rizk at the meeting. “Our plan is to just collect kitchen waste thus far.”

Coun. Jayne Ingram, who chaired the meeting, asked Rizk if inserting yard waste into a composter alongside kitchen waste would help the composting process.

“Yes it would,” said Rizk in response to Ingram’s query. “It’s like a recipe and would be all about proportions.”

Ingram was pleased to hear that.

“So then we would need so much kitchen waste and so much yard waste to make it process.”

Fernandez can’t see yard waste coming into play anytime soon.

“If we look at adding yard waste to our plan for organics, it would change things in the budgeting and we didn’t allow for this in our budget. There would also be tipping fees factored in,” he said.

Ingram then said that taking your yard waste to Meade Creek is free, but Day disagreed.

“Taking your yard waste somewhere else actually isn’t free because of the ecology,” said Day. “The best thing would be to mulch them into our lawns. I think we’ve made the right decision but this is something we can discuss (picking up yard waste).

“I’ve learned recently that in-vessel is the way to go and we’ve all agreed. There will always be the NIMBY (not in my back yard) attitude and this provides us with the opportunity to create no odour, which is the problem down at Fisher Road in Victoria.”

Mayor Ross Forrest thinks it’s good for the town to keep all options open.

“We have to keep all the options open and see what is best for us going forward,” said Forrest at the meeting. “In-vessel sounds like the way to go.”

Ingram then threw out the idea of meeting with the Ministry of Environment before purchasing a composter, but Forrest thinks it’s too early for that.

“We would go in there and it would be them telling us what they want for us,” said the mayor.

Moving forward, the town also plans to look at the option of partnering in waste management with surrounding CVRD Areas F and I.

“We will definitely try to work with Areas F and I,” said Forrest. “There is no point in them shipping over our area and driving down the highway. A partnership works better financially too and CVRD waste management is in a bit of a transition right now.”