KELOWNA - With a small mountain of the garden compost piling up, Kelowna council has made a move to boost the sale of OgoGrow.
Council on Monday approved amendments to the bylaws governing the sale and price of OgoGrow, allowing the compost to be sold at negotiated prices rather than a minimum flat rate.
Utiltiy services manager Kevin Van Vliet says this allows the city to sell the product much further afield.
“With compost, the cost of hauling it any distance becomes a real inhibitor,” he explains. “Our current market area is really defined by the costs of trucking.”
While there’s a steady stream of OgoGrow leaving local distribution points with gardeners in their pickup trucks, Van Vliet says 90 per cent of sales are to regional wholesalers who either sell the product as is or upgrade it further.
But the production of 65,000 cubic yards annually has exceeded demand for the last six years, Van Vliet says, leaving the city with aproximately 50,000 cubic metres of excess inventory.
Local gardeners will now pay $21.43 per cubic yard for anything less than 50 cubic yards of OgoGrow at the Glenmore but they would need a pretty big truck to take advantage of the lowest bulk price of $5 for 20,000 yards and up.
However the bylaw also gives the city’s director of civic operations authority to negotiate bulk sale prices of between $0 and $7 per cubic yard should stored inventory exceed 25 per cent of annual production.
Van Vliet says the move should immediately boost sales and take some pressure off the production site it shares with the City of Vernon.
“Compost needs to be turned regularly so it’s stored on an asphalt slab,” he says. “If you store it off the slab, it gets mixed with dirt when you turn it and degrades the quality which might affect sales.”
According to the City of Kelowna website, OgoGrow is made from biosolids from both Vernon and Kelowna waste treatment plants, mixed with wood waste and wood ash.
It is recommended for application on flowers, shrubs and in vegetable gardens, however, its use and production are controversial.
The Central Okanagan Regional District was forced two years ago to change the contractor who was receiving its biosolids after protestors in the Nicola Valley near Merritt began picketing against the dumping of what they call toxic sewage sludge.
While Kelowna sends its biosolids to Vernon, the regional district as well as the City of West Kelowna, Peachland and the Westbank First Nation all use the Westside regional wastewater treatment plant.
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