Elk Valley waste could be redirected to Cranbrook

The fate of the Elk Valley's solid waste is up in the air.

The fate of the Elk Valley’s solid waste is up in the air. Currently being delivered to the Crowsnest Pincher Creek Landfill near Lundbreck, Alberta, the waste could soon be redirected to Cranbrook.

Kevin Paterson, environmental services manager, Regional District of East Kootenay (RDEK), explained hauling the waste to Cranbrook could mean good news for the East Kootenays and its residents financially.

“The changes are being considered because there are opportunities to enhance and improve efficiencies in managing our solid waste, in addition to keeping solid waste operational dollars in the East Kootenays and saving money,” said Paterson. “Ultimately our goal is to reduce the volume of waste being landfilled and enhancing our waste diversion activities.”

He went on to say, “By keeping the waste in the region, and by keeping the Kootenay tax payer dollars in the region, we can better invest in diversionary programs such as mattress, furniture, and organic waste diversion programs which currently do not exist.”

Based on annual tonnages, the current cost to haul the waste to Alberta is $162,969 per year. The additional cost to haul to Cranbrook would amount to roughly $16,560, based on 9,000 tonnes annually. Despite the increase in price, Paterson said the change will still benefit Elk Valley residents.

“Even with the slight increase in hauling costs associated with taking waste to the Central Landfill, all Elk Valley residents could see a slight reduction in their solid waste taxes,” commented Paterson. “In addition, there is a potential reduction in taxation to Central Area residents as well, depending on how much of the tipping fee revenue is re-invested into new diversionary programs. Some revenue could be used to reduce taxation.”

It’s not a done deal yet, but the directors for the Central Subregion have agreed in principle to staff exploring the possibility of the changes as part of the Solid Waste Management Plan review process.

The review is currently being handled by the Environmental Services Department and will look at all aspects of the Kootenays’ Solid Waste Management Program. The review will incorporate feedback from residents through a public consultation process, but it will be up to the RDEK Board of Directors to review and adopt any proposed changes. After approval by the board, the revised plan will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment for approval.