Landfill fees could be going up by a third

Staff at Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen propose increase to tipping fees to help make up offset decrease in billable waste

Vehicles exit the Campbell Mountain Landfill. The regional district board considering increasing tipping fees at the site and others.

Vehicles exit the Campbell Mountain Landfill. The regional district board considering increasing tipping fees at the site and others.

Tipping fees at regional landfills could increase by a third later this year, which would more than double the cost of dumping from what it was less than a decade ago.

Staff at the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen have proposed hiking the tipping fee for ordinary waste from $72 per tonne to $95. It would be the fourth such increase since 2006, when the per-tonne cost was $45.

The need for additional revenue is driven mainly by the decreasing amount of material dumped at the landfill and the need to set aside cash for the possible cost of a methane gas capture system at Campbell Mountain, chief administrative officer Bill Newell told an RDOS board committee last week.

“We’re going to pay for this one way or another,” he said.

“It’s a matter of whether it’s tipping fees or taxation. We favour tipping fees because of the incentive then for increased (diversion) from the landfill and increased recycling.”

Finance manager Sandy Croteau said Campbell Mountain Landfill is projected this year to generate tipping fees totalling $1.9 million, about $400,000 shy of the budget estimate, which means there won’t be money available to build up reserves for the gas capture system or to decommission the site in 25 to 36 years.

Solid waste co-ordinator Cameron Baughen said the $95 per-tonne fee was derived from a consultant’s recommendation that considered all of the challenges facing his department.

The calculation also included the decrease in the amount of garbage buried at Campbell Mountain from 40,000 tonnes in 2006 to 24,000 tonnes in 2012.

Baughen also proposed that tipping fees for some other waste streams, such as concrete and asphalt shingles, be reduced from $50 to $20 per tonne since those materials are used for road-building at the landfills.

And he unveiled a two-tier fee system for demolition and renovation waste that would grant a reduced rate for loads certified as asbestos-free.

“Right now the haulers are just signing whatever they need to get the loads into the landfill and that’s not good enough for WorkSafeBC or our own workers,” said Baughen.

“The materials that we receive are going to be moved around, crushed, buried in the ground … so we need to make sure that the health and safety of our workers is paramount when we receive these materials.”

Tipping fees for mixed demolition waste would be lowest at the Okanagan Falls landfill, where equipment and personnel is in place to sort the loads. Fee changes would also apply at the Oliver dump.

Baughen said RDOS staff will work with counterparts at the area’s municipal landfills to co-ordinate tipping fees or implement out-of-town surcharges to prevent people from shopping their waste to the cheapest available depot.

Tom Siddon, the director for Okanagan Falls-Kaleden, said he’s worried that bumping up tipping fees will hinder local governments’ cleanup efforts.

“Contractors are going to get hit and we’re trying to get people to clean up eyesore properties, derelict waste and all of that, but increased rates and tipping fees provide a disincentive,” he said.

The RDOS board will debate the proposed changes to tipping fees during budget deliberations in the coming months.