SUMMERLAND - A request to reconsider allowing the regional district to explore the possibility of locating a composting facility at the Summerland landfill was overturned by Summerland council at last night’s regular meeting, finalizing that issue but leaving the prospect of locating such a facility somewhere else in the regional district in limbo.
Summerland Mayor Peter Waterman brought the issue back to council for yesterday’s meeting, Nov.14, following a 6-1 vote at the Oct. 24 council meeting where council vigorously opposed the prospect of locating a composting facility at the landfill.
“My argument was I felt the rejection that occurred on the previous vote meant council had not entertained any discussion or information from me or the regional district on the consideration before rendering their decision. They made up their mind with no information, which is very unusual for this council not to proceed without discussion,” Waterman said today, Nov. 15.
Waterman said Coun. Toni Boot felt the same way, arguing council should seek information before voting on the motion.
“The rest of council didn’t see it that way,” Waterman said.
Waterman says last night’s vote is “essentially the end of the issue for Summerland council,” but he continues to be concerned about the bigger picture.
“It’s unfortunate my explanation of things didn’t resonate and people didn’t hear what I had to say. I consider myself and Summerland as part of the regional district, and a regional player. Impacts on climate change and global warming have no boundaries and we have to try and involve ourselves. At some point in time we are going to have to deal with methane generation, of which kitchen waste is a mass producer of. Unless you handle it properly you will produce methane,” he said.
"The regional district has technologies it's very keen on to use biosolids and organic matter as a capping material on landfills such as Campbell Mountain and Summerland’s, to make methane dissipate over time. The alternative is to use a very expensive gas extraction method. We had an opportunity to involve ourselves in this project and we declined the offer of having it paid for us. We’ll now have to go it alone on our own site or ship it to somewhere else, like another community in the South Okanagan,” he said.
He said Summerland was in a pretty good position to remedy some of the existing problems in the landfill and basically have someone else pay for it, as well as address some safety issues on Prairie Valley Road.
Waterman will still be involved at the regional board table with respect to a decision that has to be made on composting and where it goes from there.
Regional district solid waste coordinator Cameron Baughen said following the first Summerland vote, the matter would be brought before the board of directors at an upcoming meeting to see if there was political appetite amongst the board to move forward with a search for a site.
Mayor Waterman said there is probably some political risk involved in a regional director or a municipal officer to take a stand on the issue similar to what he did Tuesday.
“I figure you've got to be willing to stand up for process and proper consideration, and I’m okay doing what I did. By taking a stand for process and full discussion, I’m not concerned with taking on any of the results of that,” he said.
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