A proposal to charge users more at the Cowichan Valley Regional District’s solid-waste disposal facilities has been sent back to staff for further review.
As a result of rising landfill disposal and transportation costs, staff were recommending that the CVRD increase the garbage tipping fee from $164 per tonne to $192 per tonne, which would see minimum fees be increased from $7 to $9 for loads weighing not more than 25 kilograms and delivered to the district’s solid waste disposal facilities by a vehicle.
Ilse Sarady, a senior environmental technologist in the CVRD, said in a report for the district’s committee of the whole meeting on Nov. 23 that the recommendation for increased fees is also related to increases in fees from Rabanco Roosevelt Regional Landfill in Washington State where the district sends its garbage.
“As everyone — including residents, businesses, institutions and local governments — have a responsibility to reduce land filling of reusable and recyclable materials, staff recommend that waste generators pay the true price of land filling garbage,” Sarady said.
“This approach aligns with the objectives set out in the CVRD’s solid waste management plan, as well as efforts of moving this province and region towards a circular economy. While there may be concerns that increasing the tipping fee will lead to more illegal dumping, similar fees are charged at other garbage-exporting communities.”
But Ben Maartman, director for North Oyster/Diamond, noted that raising the garbage tipping fee from $164 per tonne to $192 per tonne is an approximately 18.5 per cent increase, which may be hard for many people to deal with financially.
“That’s a whopping increase considering today’s conditions of inflation,” he said.
Shawnigan Lake director Sierra Acton said illegal dumping in some rural areas of the CVRD is already a problem.
“We’ve had several programs in the south trying to mitigate some of the illegal dumping that’s going on and my understanding is that once you start raising the costs, it will negatively encourage that to happen,” she said.
Doug Stevens, the CVRD’s director of solid waste operations, said staff had considered the impacts of the increased costs on the community.
“However, if we don’t increase our minimum tipping fee from $7 to $9, we’re looking at about a $110,000 shortfall which will have to come from tax requisitions to cover the operating costs of the facilities,” he said.
“As for illegal dumping, we’ve seen that it has been reducing over the years.”
Allison Nicholson, director for Cowichan Station/Sahtlam/Glenora, said that for people in some rural areas who don’t have a garbage service, like her, and have to drive to waste disposal facilities, the increased costs seem excessive on top of the high costs of fuel.
“I’m really concerned about illegal dumping and this, to me, is an incentive for people to continue to dump illegally,” she said.
“We should be providing fair service to those who don’t currently have garbage pick up. I want this to go back to staff to see if it can remain at $7.”
The committee voted unanimously to send the issue back to staff for further review.