Directors split over incineration

There are deep divisions over a proposed garbage incinerator in the North Okanagan.

There are deep divisions over a proposed garbage incinerator in the North Okanagan.

Regional District of North Okanagan staff will consider whether the district’s solid waste management plan remains practical or if consideration should be given to CanKor Pacific Waste and Energy’s plans for a waste burner on the Splats’in First Nation reserve between Spallumcheen and Enderby.

Administrator Trafford Hall is concerned about a possible shift away from RDNO policy which calls for landfills and recycling.

“We looked at incineration recently and the area was opposed to incineration. What we do now does not pollute the air or water,” he said.

Representatives for Vancouver-based CanKor made a presentation to directors Wednesday.

“A whole bunch of questions came up,” said director Mike Macnabb of the proposal which would divert waste away from landfills and into an incinerator.

“It makes a lot of assumptions we can’t take at face value. What happens if it doesn’t work?”

Macnabb points out that considerable time went into the regional district’s solid waste management plan.

“I don’t want to go down a different path when I think we’re doing pretty well with solid waste,” he said.

The first phase of the $100 to $200 million project could collect about 400 tonnes of garbage per day.

Potential spin-off products could be a cooling warehouse, a hydroponic greenhouse and a 100-unit co-operative housing plan.

“It may be pie-in-the-sky but there are huge problems with landfills,” said director Eugene Foisy.

“If we can get some information, it doesn’t hurt to look at something that may be better.”

Director Will Hansma wants RDNO staff to look at the incinerator concept with an open mind and not to be tied to the existing waste management plan.

“We need to do what’s best for our communities and not necessarily our five-year plan,” he said.

“We have looked at incineration projects in other countries and they are very good.”

CanKor is seeking $10,000 from the regional district for a feasibility study but Hansma wants assurances that potential environmental concerns are addressed.

“Will it tell us the impact on our air quality? There is a concern about water in the area. The site is very close to an aquifer,” he said.