Metro Vancouver's existing waste-to-energy plant in south Burnaby burns 285

Metro Vancouver's existing waste-to-energy plant in south Burnaby burns 285

Nanaimo on radar as potential incinerator site

Metro Vancouver open to barging garbage across strait to Vancouver Island, among other options

The possibility that a new waste-to-energy incinerator might be built on Vancouver Island has caused a stir among Nanaimo-area politicians who fear Metro Vancouver’s garbage may be shipped their way.

Nanaimo Regional District area A director Alec McPherson told Black Press he’s “very concerned” the incinerator might be built at Duke Point, south of Nanaimo.

No specific proposal has been made public for that part of the island.

But Metro Vancouver officials have notified all Vancouver Island regional districts that the search for prospective sites includes their regions.

Municipalities, regional districts, other branches of government and private property owners can all step forward and propose their land as a potential host site for the new waste-to-energy plant.

Locations both inside Metro Vancouver and outside the region must be fairly considered, according to an environment ministry directive.

A short list of potential sites is to be drawn up by November.

One potential site on the far side of Vancouver Island is a former pulp mill at Gold River, which would require Metro waste to be barged all the way around the island.

A Nanaimo-area site would offer much closer shipping, and might require no barging at all if garbage loads were instead sent via Tsawwassen-Duke Point ferries.

Fraser Valley Regional District directors are strongly opposed to the construction of any new garbage incinerator in the Lower Mainland, citing the risk of increased air pollution in the constrained Valley airshed.

Fraser Valley politicians have said they would have no such grounds to object to a remote incineration site like Gold River.

But what about Nanaimo?

“That would not be in our airshed,” FVRD vice-chair Patricia Ross said. “It wouldn’t necessarily affect us and our airshed and our agriculture here. But that does not mean we would find it acceptable.”

Ross said the FVRD is concerned that any pursuit of waste-to-energy incineration in B.C. will lead to more garbage being burned, rather than recycled.

She said the FVRD is limited to air quality concerns for formally opposing whatever plant Metro proposes, but would work to assist opponents in Nanaimo, if a site is proposed there.

“We don’t feel comfortable saying it’s okay to put it there,” Ross said. “That would be up to those folks to decide.”

The new waste-to-energy plant is to be built by 2018 and be able to handle 370,000 tonnes of garbage per year. Metro is in the early stages of a complex procurement process.

The ability to effectively use the power produced, potentially through a district energy system, is one of the site selection criteria to be considered.

Christianne Wilhelmson of the Georgia Strait Alliance said she doesn’t like the idea of moving garbage by water.

“I think the model of barging over waste from Metro Vancouver to Nanaimo is deeply deeply flawed and not well thought out,” she said.

Wilhelmson said she mainly objects to the export of waste on sustainability grounds, adding garbage barges likely pose less risk to the marine environment than oil tankers or the federally authorized dumping of soil in the strait.

Garbage is already moving on B.C.’s coastal waterways.

The Cowichan Valley Regional District and Powell River both ship their garbage via barge to Metro Vancouver, where the containers are put onto rail and sent south, along with trainloads of trash from Whistler, to the Roosevelt Regional Landfill in southern Washington State.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Andrew Swanson was arrested Wednesday after he was wanted for an alleged choking assault and for obstructing police. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Victoria police arrest Andrew Swanson on warrants for alleged choking assault, obstruction

A member of the public spotted Swanson and called 911 before police came and made the arrest

(Black Press Media file photo)
Youth sustains minor injuries in stabbing at Saanich Plaza

Suspect under age of 16 taken into custody, no risk to the public, police say

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
West Shore proud owners of B.C.’s first electric school bus

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Sue Hodgson returns as publisher of the Peninsula News Review starting June 1. (Courtesy Sue Hodgson)
Peninsula News Review welcomes back Sue Hodgson as publisher

Dale Naftel takes helm of Oak Bay News as publisher

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of May 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: Do you plan to travel on the Victoria Day long weekend?

It’s the unofficial start to the summer season. A time of barbecues,… Continue reading

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

People line up for COVID-19 vaccination at a drop-in clinic at Cloverdale Recreation Centre on Wednesday, April 27, 2021. Public health officials have focused efforts on the Fraser Health region. (Aaron Hinks/Peace Arch News)
B.C. reports 1st vaccine-induced blood clot; 684 new COVID cases Thursday

Two million vaccine doses reached, hospital cases down

More than 6,000 camping reservations in British Columbia were cancelled as a result of a provincial order limiting travel between health regions. (Unsplash)
1 in 4 camping reservations cancelled in B.C. amid COVID-19 travel restrictions

More than 6,500 BC Parks campsite reservations for between April 19 and May 25 have been revoked

Most Read