Frustration continues to fester over yard waste at Columbia Shuswap Regional District transfer stations.
Area F director Jay Simpson brought the matter to the June 16 board of directors meeting in Salmon Arm, pointing out that he has fielded many complaints regarding the inability of dual-axle trucks to drop off yard waste at the North Shuswap transfer station for free.
The regional district began accepting yard waste for free early in 2018, in an effort to reduce open burning and illegal dumping. Along with that came a large increase in land-clearing material that often contained stumps, soil and rocks.
In response, CSRD dropped the tipping fee for land-clearing material from $160 to $80 a ton in 2021 and refused acceptance of yard waste delivered in tandem-axle vehicles at its transfer sites.
Since March 1, 2021, the free service has only been available for yard waste delivered in cars, pickups and single-axle trailers. Those delivering yard waste to the landfill by tandem-axle vehicle, like a dump truck or bin truck, or on a tandem-axle, have to pay a disposal fee.
“I have had a number of calls on this since the policy was put in place and there is no flexibility to allow non-commercial double-axle trailers to freely deposit this yard waste,” Simpson noted. “Im hoping there may be another way to discourage commercial operators from trying to deposit their waste for free versus private individuals with double-axle trailers.”
But CSRD Environmental Health Services team leader Ben Van Nostrand told directors he didn’t want to have staff debate the weight of the load and that the policy was a way to keep traffic flowing.
He pointed out that land-clearing waste was arriving at Scotch Creek and Skimikin transfer stations in such great numbers that bins were quickly filled and the sites had to close due to a lack of capacity.
Board chair Kevin Flynn was of the opinion that if people were truly fire smarting their properties they should be able to do so at no cost.
Van Nostrand said the regional district is looking at a pilot project in which CSRD could collaborate with FireSmart next spring to provide a chipper at Skimikin and Scotch Creek transfer stations.
“We would then be responsible for finding a disposal option or hauling it to a landfill site,” he said, noting a full review of the waste management program will begin in 2023 and will likely be a two-year process. “We haven’t really done anything since 2010(ish) so there are a host of issues and they’ll all be on the table.”
Van Nostrand says there will be ample opportunities for members of the public to provide input on the future of recycling and solid-waste management programs in the future.
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