Projected cost of Kamloops's organic waste program already rising | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Projected cost of Kamloops's organic waste program already rising

Image Credit: ADOBE STOCK
February 23, 2021 - 5:00 PM

With Kamloops's organic waste program still in the infant stages, questions like how often it will be collected, what can you put in your bin, or even how large your bin is going to be are yet to be answered. But the estimated price tag of the program has nonetheless increased hundreds of thousands of dollars from the estimate used only months ago.

In December 2020, City staff projected the total cost of implementing the curbside organic waste collection program to be $5.7 million. 

However, the cost is now an estimated $6.5 million, and could rise further yet.

"We're in very early days of what this will look like," the city’s environmental services manager, Glen Farrow, said. "We'll be going back to council with more refinement of what this will actually look like and how it will impact each homeowner in the coming years."

Farrow says the actual figure could be 15% higher or lower.

"There are still a lot of unknowns about ultimately how this program will unroll and what it's going to look like," he said. "So because of that we decided we needed to increase, from a conservative perspective, those numbers for a contingency. If the public demands we collect every product every week, you're going to see that number go up even further."

Farrow also said there are unknown factors difficult to predict, such as the cost of plastic, that could come into play.

However, the $6.5 million estimate is the figure presented in the applications for grant funding and if those grants are denied, it would likely mean "a greater hit to the ratepayer," Farrow said.

A city news release states grants from GreenBC and the Green Municipal Fund could potentially cover half of implementation costs, and the timing of phases two and three are dependent on successful grant funding.

It's uncertain if the grant approval will happen.

The program is currently in phase 1, which includes securing government funding and soliciting the public for feedback.

Farrow says the city has had over 1,000 people respond to an organic waste program survey on the city's Let's Talk website, and he says the support for the program has been overwhelming. 

However it's unclear if ratepayers will face a separate fee for organic waste removal, or possibly a change in garbage removal service as a result of the new program.

"One of the options would be reducing weekly garbage collection in half," Farrow says. "So the garbage collection fee would go down, and the net cost of disposal then would be no different than it is today."

The next phase of the program is a pilot project involving select communities in the fall, which "should run a year or so and give us information, and people can ask how large a cart, what can i put in my cart?" Farrow said.

Full start up of the program is slated for mid to late 2023.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Darren Rathwell or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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