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Transfer station a possibility for Sicamous as landfill approaches end of lifespan

Options for community after landfill closes to be discussed at June waste management plan meeting
The Sicamous landfill has an estimated 13 years remaining in its lifespan. When that lifespan ends, other options for solid waste disposal will have to be decided on for the community. (CSRD image/ Facebook)

A transfer station may be an option for the District of Sicamous when its current landfill reaches the end of its life in 13 years.

Set to launch this year, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District’s (CSRD) Consolidated Waste Management Plan review will look at the region’s landfills, solid waste and recycling collection, and disposal options, among other concerns. A report on landfills conducted in 2022 estimated the remaining lifespan for Salmon Arm’s to be 73 years, Golden’s 59 years, Revelstoke’s 17 years and 13 years for the one in Sicamous.

Ben Van Nostrand, CSRD team leader of environmental health services, said the management plan process will begin with a preliminary meeting in June, which will include public and technical advisory committees. The date for this meeting will be set at the CSRD’s May board meeting.

The plan, to be decided on at the June meeting, will include what to do with the Sicamous landfill after its lifespan runs out in 2035, said Van Nostrand, who suggested a few possibilities.

“I would like to explore the option of closing the landfill and opening a transfer station in town,” said Van Nostrand. “We wouldn’t operate the Sicamous landfill, it would be closed, and people would haul garbage to a transfer station in the community.”

He suggested a potential location in the industrial area, if land could be secured there. The same services offered at the landfill would be available at the transfer station, he said, but waste would be collected in bins and hauled to Salmon Arm for further disposal.

Van Nostrand said he’d ideally like to see a change happen in the next five years, or at least well before the landfill has to close.

“The longer we stay there, the more we put waste in the ground,” he said.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy’s Landfill Criteria for Municipal Solid Waste was last revised in 2016 and includes specifications about how a landfill has to be closed. Van Nostrand said the area has to be closed and packed in, so no water can get in, and monitored for hundreds of years after. More detailed closure and post-closure information can be found on the province’s waste management webpage.

“It’s a fairly significant project to cap it and then monitor it,” he said.

Van Nostrand also said he’d like to revisit the idea of a curbside collection program in Sicamous, where residents would get bins for solid waste and recycling and have it picked up so they don’t have to take it anywhere.

He confirmed there is funding available for the recycling collection and there have been changes since the last time the CSRD reviewed the plan, so updates could be made to the program as a whole. District officials and community members will be informed and asked for their input as the project develops, he said.

“[Sicamous] is the only holdout in terms of our member municipalities,” Van Nostrand said. “The other areas, Salmon Arm, Revelstoke, Golden, all have fantastic curbside pickup opportunities. [Sicamous] didn’t take that opportunity in 2015.”

He added there was push back from residents at the time that didn’t want to pay extra for pickup service.

The solid waste management plan review is expected to take two years, said Van Nostrand. Information will become available on CSRD platforms as it develops as well as opportunities for public engagement.

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Rebecca Willson

About the Author: Rebecca Willson

I took my first step into the journalism industry in November 2022 when I moved to Salmon Arm to work for the Observer and Eagle Valley News. I graduated with a journalism degree in December 2021 from MacEwan University in Edmonton.
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