NANAIMO — An ambitious plan aims to divert much more waste from the Cedar landfill, but the vision will hit mid-island taxpayers in the wallet.
The RDN board’s endorsement of the Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) called for several new programs to boost the mid-island’s waste diversion rate from 68 to 90 per cent by 2027. As a result, the RDN predicted taxpayers between Cedar and Bowser will see their user rate bill rise by $10 a year.
“Processing residential waste is not free, costs are generally going upward, I think people see that throughout the entire economy,” David Thompson, the City’s manager of sanitation, recycling and public works told NanaimoNewsNOW.
The current curbside collection user rates in Nanaimo city limits cost taxpayers $165 a year.
Thompson said prolonging the life of the Cedar landfill is critical, as replacing it would be extremely expensive.
“We’ve been talking and thinking and talking about pay-as-you-throw type programs, and these are the type of programs that are really going to help us manage cost increases throughout the system.”
A notable plank in the SWMP plan includes mandating all waste-producing dwellings to have separate containers for recyclables, organics and garbage. Another leading tool is having commercial waste haulers licensed, while offering them incentives to keep more products in the recycling stream.
Larry Gardner, RDN solid waste manager, said it will likely take two years to license waste haulers and mandate source separation, which both require provincial approval.
“There’s still lots to do to actually get these programs in place but we’ve taken our first major step towards actually making these a reality by the board approving the plan.”
Gardner said the plan builds on the RDN’s “world class success in obtaining waste diversion”.
He said commercial haulers have long used the Cedar landfill at a profit to get rid of waste, some of which can be reused. Gardner said lowering tipping fees for commercial haulers will help change that behaviour.
“You’re trying to get people to do stuff that costs more money, business is based on economics and bottom lines, so lets change that bottom line.”
Gardner said increased education and some form of household hazardous waste collection are other aspects of the SWMP.