Big fee increases essential to keep the Central Okanagan's only landfill in operation

Tractor pushes garbage at landfill.

CENTRAL OKANAGAN - Tipping fees for waste disposal at Kelowna’s Glenmore landfill are going up by more than 50 per cent, one of a broad range of fee increases for services at the only landfill in the Central Okanagan.

From raising tipping fees to $100 per tonne to adding for the first time a $5 charge for dropping off yard waste, Kelowna council agreed to a package of increases designed, not just to increase capacity but keep the landfill operating.

Just to achieve that the city must spend $51 million over the next ten years on a list of infrastructure projects as well complete its landfill closure plan, a condition of its operating permit.

Designed as a self-sufficient business unit — it’s supposed to survive on the fees it charges — utilities manager Kevin Van Vliet told councillors the landfill risked early closure before if changes weren’t made at an unknown future cost to Kelowna taxpayers.

With the closing of landfills in Peachland and West Kelowna, volumes have risen from 90,000 tonnes in 2000 to 150,000 tonnes last year and are expected to double again by 2065, Van Vliet said in his report to council.

To handle that increase, waste will be piled both higher and steeper, capping out at 90 metres instead of 70 metres and adding 25 years to the landfill’s working life.

As well as financing the infrastructure expansion, the fee increases are expected to temper demand, Van Vliet said, by boosting recycling rates and discouraging waste haulers from outside the Central Okanagan.

With such a wide gap in tipping fees — other landfills charge a minimum of $100 per tonne, Kelowna charges $65 — Van Vliet said outside haulers have every incentive to make the trip to Central Okanagan and save 35 per cent on waste disposal.

The rate increase will be phased in starting at $85 next year, rising to $100 by 2020. Fees will also increase for contaminated recycling, mattress, biosolids and loads requiring sorting.

General garbage disposal fees will rise to $11 per load. Residential waste collection will rise to $174.30.


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