Aerial illustration shows the current and proposed future configurations of the Hartland landfill. (Courtesy Capital Regional District)

CRD board hears earful from Greater Victoria residents over landfill project

Public to have more chances to weigh in on Hartland access change, other aspects of expansion

The Capital Regional District is proceeding carefully on its plans to expand the Hartland landfill, including moving the dump access from Hartland Road to Willis Point Road to be closer to new disposal areas.

After hearing more than a dozen community members voice objections to both the landfill entrance change and the environmental impacts of the CRD’s draft Solid Waste Management Plan, directors at the Aug. 12 CRD board meeting voted to continue research into traffic impacts and costs associated with the move, leaving the door open for more public consultation in September and beyond.

Among community members’ online presentations, Willis Point resident Kayla Vandermolen played a dash cam video showing “typical” summertime traffic flow on the road, with vehicles parked on the sides, overflow from the Mount Work and Durrance Lake lots.

A CRD staff report estimates 475 to 500 commercial and residential trucks and other vehicles would be added to Willis Point Road daily with a changed landfill entrance. “This is on top of all the recreational users, residents and commuters in the area,” Vandermolen said.

RELATED STORY: Victoria landfill commercial access shift would have major impact: CRD director

ICBC crash statistics are already higher for Willis Road than Hartland Road, she added. Changing the landfill access “would put public safety at a significant risk and would forever change this area.”

On the expansion in general, she and other speakers noted that such activities as the clearing of a large number of trees and the expansion of aggregate hauling activities at Mount Work would increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The report on Phase 1 Engagement and Next Steps – an early stage of the Hartland 2100 landfill expansion concept – had been recommended by the CRD’s environmental services committee simply for receipt for board members’ information.

But given the tone of the public comments and the discussion around the table, it was clear a disconnect remained between the CRD and residents of the neighbourhoods bordering the landfill.

Juan de Fuca Electoral Area director Mike Hicks, who also represents Willis Point, said the engagement report “sounds very supportive” in its portrayal of comments shared at previous public meetings, but “the consultants never told the whole story.”

Hicks claimed residents weren’t told about the added number of gravel trucks hauling aggregate along Willis Point Road, or the congestion that could result from mixing commercial and residential dump traffic with park users, local residents and commuters.

“The report and the findings are seriously flawed,” Hicks said. “I would suggest we reject this report, start again and have a consultative process that gives all the facts to the residents of the CRD.”

Board chair Colin Plant said no Mount Work parkland will be sacrificed with the expansion, and any lost mountain bike trails would be replaced nearby or elsewhere in the region. A point he made about aggregate removal from the landfill happening four to six weeks per year, on average, not year-round, was clarified after the meeting. CRD staff noted that currently no aggregate leaves the landfill and that the four- to six-week period of removal is part of the draft plan.

ALSO READ: CRD cost estimate study looks at regional housing, transportation affordability

Despite the misgivings of Hicks and several other board members, the report was received for information. The public won’t have another chance to comment on the draft plan until at least September, but the board was assured the plan won’t be forwarded to the CRD environmental committee until after those consultations happen.

The report discussion also affected the result of recommendations relating to the traffic impact study. The board directed staff to cost out a shorter passing lane on Willis Road as an alternative to the $5-million, 2.4-kilometre version included in a consultant’s report, as well as do a current season traffic study. Staff will also continue to investigate the impacts of relocating the road access on the longer-term operation of the landfill and report back to the appropriate CRD committees for comment.

Editor’s note: This reposted version of the story contains additional information.


 

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