Organics need local solution

It’s time for the entire region to get onboard with organic kitchen-scrap composting.

It’s time for the entire region to get onboard with organic kitchen-scrap composting.

The practice has worked well in View Royal and Oak Bay, the two Capital Regional District municipalities chosen to try out a pilot kitchen-scrap collection project.

With both Victoria and  Saanich taking the first step toward collecting organics, it’s time to seek a better solution for what happens to the material.

The CRD sends food scraps collected from Oak Bay and View Royal to the Hartland Landfill in Saanich. The organic material is then trucked to a processing facility in the Cowichan Valley, 48 kilometres away.

This makes little sense when there are at least three local businesses willing to process the region’s waste in our own backyard.

One of the proposals is in Sooke and the other two are on the Peninsula. All three would require consultation with their respective municipalities to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place. Roads leading to such a facility must be able to handle heavy trucks, and neighbourhood concerns about foul smells, vermin and run-off need to be addressed.

The CRD board has broached the subject in the recent past, spending time and money to seek out local processors before abandoning the plan in 2010.

But with a solid majority of homes participating in View Royal and Oak Bay, it’s safe to say the public is ready to take this logical next step.

The CRD’s current contract with a Cobble Hill processor expires this summer. The timing makes sense for the regional district to begin looking for a closer location as soon as possible.

We produce an estimated 14,000 tonnes of food waste every year, according to CRD estimates.

Hartland is already eyeing the day when it will no longer take organic waste. When that time comes, we need to have found a regional solution for removing kitchen waste from our garbage production.

A new request for proposals sent out now would give CRD directors a reasonable amount of time to make a decision. More importantly, it would allow the chosen contractor enough time to build a facility adequate for the entire region.