Removing the mess a bankrupt waste hauler left on Penticton Indian Band land is expected to cost well over $1 million.
According to a report from Andrew Reeder, manager of operations for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, private hauler Appleton Waste Services left approximately 5,000 tonnes of unassessed demolition and construction waste on Green Mountain Road.
Since Appleton and its sorting and receiving facility has become insolvent, the band is requesting that the district waive the tipping fees associated with disposing of the unassessed waste, which may contain asbestos.
The current RDOS fee for removing unassessed waste is $700 per tonne, a punitive fee meant to discourage those loads from coming to the landfill. For the Appleton site, this would be equivalent to $3.5 million in revenue.
In a letter to RDOS chair Karla Kozakevich, Chief Chad Eneas wrote that the band has been “making every effort to prevent the accumulation of waste collected as a consequence of ‘Appleton Waste,’” but added, “there are few legislative options to prevent the dumping.”
“As you may appreciate the Penticton Indian Reserve lands are not owned by the Penticton Indian Band, they are owned by ‘Her Majesty’ set aside for our use and benefit,” Eneas wrote. “Unless the lands are leased and properly registered pursuant to Section 58(3) of the Indian Act, the band has no control or say on those lands that are owned through a Certificate of Possession.”
Eneas went on to say that the band considers the Appleton site illegal and wants the debris removed, but the tipping fees are prohibitive.
In his report, Reeder recommends not waiving the tipping fees in entirety as requested, but rather charging the fees at cost, which are estimated to be $220 per tonne after a separate active face is created to keep the unassessed waste apart from municipal solid waste. For the Appleton site, the at-cost fee would be equivalent to $1.1 million in total.
While Reeder acknowledged the risk of setting a precedent by reducing the fees for this debris, he made his recommendation considering another risk, of asbestos becoming airborne if the unassessed waste is not handled properly.
“While the reduction in tipping fees represents a $2.4 million loss in revenue, it will allow us to recover our costs to receive the requested wastes,” his report reads.
Reeder also laid out two alternatives for the board to debate at its Oct. 3 meeting, including one that would entail additional household taxes. He wrote the board could choose to waive all tipping fees and increase taxes or Campbell Mountain Landfill tipping fees, or deny the band’s request to waive tipping fees.
“An additional household tax, or increase in tipping fees will be required should the board decide to waive all tipping fees or go less than the prescribed $220 per tonne fee.”
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