After months of debate and years of research, a recommendation on the future site of a regional compost facility is expected to come before the board of the Regional District Okanagan Similkameen on Thursday.
RDOS staff are recommending the Summerland landfill as the preferred site for the regional facility that will compost food waste, yard waste, wood waste and water treatment sludge.
Finished compost material would be sold to the agriculture community, while water treatment compost would be used at the Campbell Mountain Landfill in a BioCover methodology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and comply with provincial regulations.
The staff recommendation to build the compost site at the Summerland landfill will be discussed during the Environmental and Infrastructure Committee meeting.
A final decision will not be made by the board during the meeting, but later in 2017.
Summerland mayor Peter Waterman emphasized that there are still a lot of details to discuss to determine if the facility would make a good fit for his community.
If the RDOS went ahead with the compost facility a long-term lease would have to be secured, and agreed to by Summerland council.
“It’s certainly worth the discussion. We recognize that there are going to be concerns that we have to discuss and address,” Waterman said Friday.
Waterman noted residents in his community have raised concerns over issues including increased truck traffic to and from the site travelling on Prairie Valley Road, odour and leachate.
“I think the technology is there to deal with odour and leachate and so on. There are excellent facilities throughout the world.”
Alternate transportation routes have been suggested including Dale Meadows Road and Cartwright Avenue although road upgrades would need to be completed to accommodate the heavy trucks.
RDOS staff is also recommending that a site on Marron Valley Road owned by a Penticton Indian Band locatee be identified as the alternative site of the facility if a deal could not be made with Summerland regarding the Summerland landfill.
Tom Siddon, director for Area D which includes Marron Valley, has come out strong against the facility being built in his area and is against the site being listed as an alternative.
“It (Summerland) is a much more logical site and I strongly oppose any thought of putting it at the Marron Valley site,” he said. “I want it taken off the list as surely and quickly as possible.”
In preliminary odour modelling studies it was determined that 31 residences in Marron Valley could be affected by the smell emitted by the facility for a short period of time throughout the year.
The same odour modelling showed that no residences would be affected if the facility was built at the Summerland landfill.
RDOS staff have said that odour concerns could be addressed by using advanced technology including enhanced filters.
Siddon said there are several other sites shortlisted by staff that could be considered as an alternative.
A need for a regional compost facility was identified in the 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan. Staff have been working since then to determine feasible sites.
Six sites were shortlisted and studied further. The Summerland Landfill and Marron Valley sites were identified as the top preferred locations earlier this year.