Lake Cowichan is looking for a homegrown solution in dealing with its organic waste.
“We have nothing right now, no organic pickups,” said Councillor Bob Day, who asked at the Jan. 7 Public Works Committee meeting if there was a made-in-Lake-Cowichan solution to the problem.
“I would love to see us collect it here, process it here and use it here, rather than ship it down the highway in a vehicle that gets three miles per gallon, dump it on the floor at Bings Creek, pick it up again and take it to Nanaimo, again in a vehicle that gets three miles to the gallon.”
Day said he believes all municipalities and districts should look after their own waste.
“We all signed onto the B.C. Climate Action Charter (which commits local governments to lower their carbon footprint and take community-wide actions that demonstrate leadership on sustainable development) and we’re doing something good, but at the same time we’re wasting a whole bunch of energy moving it around to different places and getting no advantage from it,” he said.
Day said he’s not coming down on any other cities or towns, but Lake Cowichan is in a unique position and what works elsewhere might not necessarily work at the lakeside town.
“I don’t begrudge any other jurisdiction or level of government, but we don’t always have to follow the Cowichan Valley Regional District way,” he said.
“Let’s face it, we’re 30 kilometres off the beaten track and sometimes what makes sense for trucks running up and down (Highway 1) to get to places is real simple, it’s a no-brainer.
“But here it’s a little different and we have the opportunity to do it and create a job at the same time — in my mind you have to look at the whole thing holistically.”
This isn’t the first time Lake Cowichan has looked at dealing with its own waste.
“We had a study done about waste energy and generating power from the river and things like that,” said Day.
“The consultant — who didn’t supply any numbers — said it was not economically feasible (but) my feeling is sometimes we have to do the right thing, instead of worrying about how much it cost because it will make it balance in the end. Well, you know, without being foolish.”
Day said he knows a perfect place to put an organic recycling centre.
“We own our sewage lagoon and have two cells (ponds) there now and plenty of property around there,” he said. “The vision I have is you dump it and process it right at the sewage lagoon.”
Nagi Rizk, the town’s superintendent of Public Works and Engineering Services, said his staff would look into the possibilities.
Day said he expects to hear from town staff in about a month.