PACE operations manager James Cunningham and some of his workers stand with their backs to a conveyor belt from which they pluck recyclable demolition waste at anew sorting facility that was unveillled Thursday at the Okanagan Falls landfill.

PACE operations manager James Cunningham and some of his workers stand with their backs to a conveyor belt from which they pluck recyclable demolition waste at anew sorting facility that was unveillled Thursday at the Okanagan Falls landfill.

Interior’s first demolition waste recycling facility opens in Okanagan Falls

Special crew selected to operate sorting equipment that should dramatically reduce the volume of debris buried in local landfills

A demolition waste sorting facility at the Okanagan Falls landfill that’s believed unique to the B.C. Interior is hungry for its first batch of materials.

Up to 10 workers will be assisted by machinery as they sort materials into individual waste streams that can then be recycled, thereby saving room in local dumps.

Although the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen owns the landfill, it has contracted out operation to Wildstone Environmental, a deal worth about $350,000 per year.

RDOS solid waste supervisor Don Hamilton, who publicly unveiled the site new equipment last week, said the sorting facility is expected to divert up to 5,000 tonnes of material annually from landfills.

“What we’re hoping is we can direct most of the (region’s) demolition material to this site,” he said.

Along with getting the facility built, the RDOS also had to enact a regulatory framework that encourages demolition waste to go to Okanagan Falls and ensure it’s free of hazardous materials so it can be handled safely by the workers.

Hamilton noted such a sorting plant was first proposed in the solid waste management plan prepared for the RDOS in 1996 when “recycling was cutting edge” and the business case for it wasn’t yet solid. Now, however, there are companies willing to buy all manner of recycled materials that can help offset operational costs.

The sorting facility, which boasts spectacular views of Skaha Lake and farmland below, will be fed by an excavator that will place material onto a conveyor belt, which sends the waste onto a sort of screen that allows anything under 10 centimetres to fall away.

Larger items will pass onto another belt from which workers on an elevated platform will pluck the different recyclables, like wood, asphalt or concrete, and drop them into separate bins below.

Staffing will be provided by Penticton and Area Co-operative Enterprises, a non-profit that helps people recovering from mental illness ease back into the workforce.

“The idea is to get people back and engaged, get some cash into their pocket so they can start feeling better… and life starts to look way better,” said PACE operations manager James Cunningham.

“The regional district has been a huge supporter of PACE,” he added, noting one of the group’s contracts saw it tear apart 6,000 mattresses for recycling at RDOS landfills last year alone.

“This isn’t pretend work,” Cunningham said.

It’s still unknown when the new Okanagan Falls equipment will process its first batch of recyclables.

Wildstone site manager Charlie Fisher said his workers will stockpile a large amount of waste, then call in PACE “so we can provide consistent employment for a period of time. You can’t have somebody come in once a week to do this.”

Fisher said the design of the sorting plant, which was built at an unspecified, but “considerable,” cost to Wildstone, is based on one in the Lower Mainland, but he’s not aware of any others elsewhere in the Interior.





Just Posted

This photo of the small wildfire burning above Naramata was taken at 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021 (Monique Tamminga Western News)
UPDATE: Fire above Naramata is an illegal open burn

Smoke is still billowing from the blaze Friday morning

Rob and Anthony are the city’s new parking ambassadors who are sharing information with businesses and the public about the new pay parking. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Penticton hires team to inform people on city’s new pay parking system

The pair will spend at least a month helping businesses and residents navigate new pay parking system

The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce will host the Valley Wide Business Expo May 4 at Predator Ridge Resort. (photo submitted)
Golf raffle helps Okanagan families score homes

Habitat for Humanity Okanagan swinging into action this summer with a new raffle

Keremeos’ heritage Grist Mill and Gardens. (Brennan Phillips - Keremeos Review)
Keremeos Grist Mill looking forward to restrictions easing with exclusive concert planned

Juno Award-winning folk artist Valdy is set to take the stage

Letter writer says COVID has created lots of newbie cyclists who don't know rules of cycling. (File photo)
LETTER: Newbie cyclists in Penticton need lessons on rules of the road

Penticton cycling group just received city funding, should give back by offering how-to lessons

Bear wanders Kelowna on June 15. (Michelle Wallace/Facebook)
Bear climbs fence, uses crosswalk in Kelowna

The bear was spotted on Baron Road Wednesday evening

Students in the Grade 10 entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School have completed a cookbook with international recipes. (Contributed)
Summerland students create virtual international cookbook

Entrepreneurship program at Summerland Unisus School uses virtual cookbook as fundraiser

Hundreds of people, young and old, joined the three-day Walking Our Spirits Home procession, honouring residential school survivors, those who never made it home and all those affected by the institutions. Here people walk the third portion on June 13. (Martha Wickett - Salmon Arm Observer)
Walking Our Spirits Home from Kamloops provides path to healing

First Nations in and beyond Secwépemc territory join in to honour residential school survivors

More flames
Lake Country home destroyed in large blaze, 11 dogs rescued

Fire crews are responding to 10839 Hallam Drive

(Facebook/Kelowna Cabs)
Kelowna Cabs reaches tentative agreement with dispatchers union

The tentative agreement could help end the dispute between the taxi company and the dispatchers

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

A boat sharing service is extending to Summerland. The company, Penticton Boat Club and Rentals, is also taking over the boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort. (Photo by Chris Stenberg)
Boat sharing service extended from Penticton to Summerland

Company will also operate boat rentals at Summerland Waterfront Resort

201 First Street West 1980s. Prior revitalization. (Photo from Revelstoke Museum and Archives)
Man who redesigned downtown Revelstoke honoured with lifetime achievement award

Robert Inwood has worked on historical projects across the province

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

Most Read