Metro Vancouver's existing waste-to-energy plant in south Burnaby burns 285,000 tonnes of garbage per year.

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.

Just Posted

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

VIDEO: Fire crew mopping up workshop fire near Golden Ears Bridge

Structure fire at 208 and 102B sending plumes of black smoke into air above Walnut Grove

Two Giants picked to play against Russia

Two of Langley’s junior hockey players will be part of the six-game Canada Russia Series next month.

VIDEO: Tributes for the man known as the “Mormon Giant”

Langley champion professional wrestler passes away

Two Langley mayoral campaigns endorsed by anti-SOGI groups

Jack Froese unsure why he’s been singled out; SOGI not a municipal issue, says Peter Fassbender

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Great British Columbia ShakeOut earthquake drill reminder

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Great ShakeOut

Jagmeet Singh says marijuana pardons are not enough

Trudeau government will streamline pardon process for Canadians convicted of simple possession of marijuana in the past

BC Ferries begins taking debit in two-month pilot project

Company is giving customers option to use Interac on two-month trial on select vessels

Caregivers banned from smoking, growing cannabis around children-in-care: MCFD

Ministry has limited cannabis use for caregivers, stating it may “pose a risk to children and youth.”

Cheaper strains sell out within minutes on online BC Cannabis Store

Province says new strains will become available in the coming months

Only 40% of B.C. car dealerships have electric cars available: report

Researchers found buyers frustrated at the lack of options

VIDEO: Millionaire Lottery returns to give back and win big

Since 1996, Millionaire Lottery has raised $52 million for the VGH+UBC Hospital Foundation

Most Read