The Salmon Arm landfill is one of four landfill sites operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. The regional district also operates eight transfer stations. (CSRD photo)

The Salmon Arm landfill is one of four landfill sites operated by the Columbia Shuswap Regional District. The regional district also operates eight transfer stations. (CSRD photo)

Regional district to dig into solid waste review for Columbia-Shuswap

Increasing population placing added pressure on CSRD transfer stations

  • Dec. 12, 2022 4:30 p.m.

By Barb Brouwer

Special to the Observer

Out of sight, out of mind is no longer possible when it comes to managing solid waste.

The Ministry of Environment introduced solid waste management planning in the early 1990s, making it a responsibility of regional districts.

As a result, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District prepared the first solid waste management plan in 1993. It was amended in 2009 to include concepts of “zero waste.” Another amendment was made in 2015 to incorporate the diversion of organic material.

In 2018, a minor amendment was made to incorporate a 20-acre parcel of land (Mounce property) into the footprint of the Salmon Arm landfill.

The 2018 amendment received Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy approval, on the condition the regional district submit the following: a five-year effectiveness review of the current plan and creation of a dispute resolution mechanism due March 2023, and a full review completed by Dec. 31, 2028.

Ben Van Nostrand, CSRD team leader Environment Health Services, said the review is a legislative requirement that the regional district is considering now in order to be on time and address some of the pressing solid waste management issues in the area.

“The biggest one is confirming that we want to be in the landfilling game and, if so, making sure we have the right budgets and reserves set up to meet changing provincial requirements,” he said. “And if we don’t, what are the alternatives? Is that moving it from a facility in Golden to Salmon Arm, or Golden to Cache Creek to a private facility?”

Van Nostrand said the regional district’s transfer station network needs to be reworked as increased population and waste volume fill sites like Skimikin and Scotch Creek to overflowing during the summer, resulting in closures.

“It’s frustrating for me as manager of the department, but we can only move so many trucks at one time and they are keeping up with their contract,” he said. “Is it appropriate to continue to operate the sites, or should we have a super site in Area C or G?”

Van Nostrand said a larger site offering more services and better hours of operation while consolidating CSRD’s footprint would better serve people. The regional district has already closed the transfer station at Tappen Esso and would like to close Skimikin and Sorrento.

“These are just ideas; the public will have an opportunity to engage in discussion about this.”

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A five-year effectiveness review document by the consulting firm Morrison Hershfield (MH), was presented to the CSRD board on Nov. 24. As well, the company presented a “road map” for a full solid waste management plan renewal, including recommendations for the regional district to explore compliance with changing MoE landfill criteria, ministry diversion targets, funding models for future capital and operational requirements, access to curbside and transfer station services and increasing diversion efforts.

Van Nostrand said the CSRD will need to add to capital reserves to fund future improvements such as liner systems currently installed in the Salmon Arm landfill only.

“We have unfunded liabilities and I think there is no way we will reach further, new provincial requirements with our current funding model,” explained Van Nostrand.

Meanwhile, at the Dec. 9 board meeting, directors authorized the CSRD to begin the process of updating the solid waste management plan for the entire regional district, including the Town of Golden, the City of Revelstoke, the District of Sicamous, and the City of Salmon Arm.

Staff will notify the pubic of its intention to amend the plan and begin a process of consultation.

“A major element in the ministry’s Guide to Updating a SWMP requires public engagement and First Nations consultation, which will take time to do effectively,” said Van Nostrand.

The SWMP review and renewal process will be guided by a technical and public advisory committee and a standing committee of the board will be brought together throughout the review process to be updated and to provide input into the renewal process.

CSRD staff will work closely with MH to establish planning teams and committees and begin the work of following the Ministry of Environment’s A Guide to Solid Waste Management Planning to conduct a full review and update of the SWMP.
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