Cranbrook cool to Elk Valley waste dumping proposal

Cranbrook Council gave clear directions to its representatives on the RDEK board to reject an offer made by Elk Valley directors

Cranbrook Council gave clear directions to its representatives on the Regional District of East Kootenay board to reject an offer made by Elk Valley directors which would see solid waste from that region accepted at the Central Subregion landfill.

Council made itself clear on the issue at its regular meeting Monday, Feb. 3.

The proposal came to the RDEK board in January, asking that Elk Valley solid waste be accepted at the regional landfill for the all-inclusive rate of $50 per tonne for five years.

Cranbrook’s representatives on the board, Mayor Wayne Stetski and Coun. Bob Whetham, were seeking direction from council.

Mayor Wayne Stetski was absent from Monday’s meeting.

City administration found some issues with the proposal, not least of which was that the Central Subregion landfill has a certificate that accounts for 25,000 tonnes of waste each year. Wayne Staudt, the city administrative officer, said at the moment there is already 23,000 going in, without taking in the estimated additional 9,000 tonnes from the Elk Valley.

“We would be over our certificate allowance amount, so that needs to be adjusted before you can even take any of this additional waste,” Staudt said.

Coun. Gerry Warner said making a decision in favour would be premature.

“I think it was stated that it didn’t make any sense to be jumping into this right now, not knowing all the implications,” Warner said.

Coun. Whetham said the initial discussions have been going on for a while, but were informal. Initially the tipping fee was suggested to be comparable to what is being paid by the Elk Valley to dispose of their waste in Alberta.

“That’s come back as a revised option to reduce that amount to $50, from $63,” Whetham said, adding that the real telling part was in the memo from the regional district.

He was referring to a line that reads: “The $50 per tonne rate for dlsposal of waste at the Central Landfill would be ‘all inclusive’, meaning that any obligation for future closing and monitoring of the landfill, opening new trenches or any other ‘new’ cost related to the landfill would be recognized as having been paid as part of the tipping fee.”

“Also, there would be no increases to the tipping fee for five years, so we had no idea what cost this thing will ultimately come to,” he said. “The other thing is, it’s going to be a matter of time before we aren’t going to be able to dispose of stuff by digging a hole or burning things, so we’re going to have to probably look at something a bit more sophisticated. Such as they are now doing in Europe.”

He said the Solid Waste Management Plan does need to be reviewed anyway.