The proposed organics and composting program is so less of this ends up in landfill. (Madi Bragg / The Free Press)

Fernie (hopefully) dives into composting

The city has voted to apply for funding for city-wide organics collection

Fernie’s appetite for organics and composting could be satiated in the near future, with the City of Fernie moving to apply for funding to develop an organic waste curbside collection program throughout the municipality.

City councillors voted to apply for a cool $176,880 from the CleanBC Organic Infrastructure and Collection Program (OICP), which supports the development of organic collections programs to divert organic waste from landfill.

“Over the last several years, residents of Fernie have shown their willingness to participate in organics collection and composting programs in a variety of different methods,” said Fernie municipal engineer Jenny Weir.

“Residents are eager to participate in a composting program.”

Weir said the timing of the grant availability was fortuitous as the Regional District of East Kootenay was planning to construct an organics processing plant in Sparwood which would be ready to receive material by Fall 2021.

With the grant, the city proposes to purchase 2230 wildlife-resistant 120l curbside collection carts, 2230 kitchen collection bins and undertake a communication and educational outreach program.

The municipal contribution to the program would come from the gas tax reserve, and be $87,120 of an estimated $264,000 project. The curbside bins would cost $240,000, the kitchen bins $14,000 and the outreach program and material would cost $10,000.

With the composting program, the municipal garbage collection utility fee would increase from $164.52 to approximately $180 per year per household.

The cost estimates are based on the reduction of waste collection to bi-weekly rather than weekly, with organics collected weekly.

“If we were to be unsuccessful in receiving this grant, or to undertake the project fully with our own funds, we would need to pay off the bins as well which would result in an estimated increase to $205 per year per household for this service,” said Weir.

City councillors voted unanimously to support the grant application.

READ MORE: Sparwood Community Garden getting closer
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Municipal Government