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Aug 27,2009 Tri City News


Exporting Lower Mainland garbage to the U.S. was never a good idea and the province's decision to quash the Metro Vancouver plan is probably for the best, says Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart.

Stewart, the only regional director to oppose the Metro Van proposal to deal with its garbage glut, said he was surprised to see a pledge of action to outlaw international export of B.C.'s garbage mentioned in Tuesday's throne speech.

Stewart said he thinks upgrading the existing Cache Creek landfill to handle the region's garbage is a better plan for the short term than sending it to Washington by rail.

"There are undoubtedly aboriginal issues that need to be addressed. I believe they can be addressed," Stewart said.

He doesn't support waste-to-energy plants, either, saying they may not be as clean as promoted and are unsuitable for the region's airshed.

"I want to see what we can do to improve the air quality out of Burnaby... but I can't imagine the aggressive incineration plan that Metro is now proposing coming to fruition."

He wants to see Metro Vancouver plan further into the future for the region's garbage, calling a 50-year timeline reasonable.

The regional authority is studying various options for garbage because the Cache Creek landfill is supposed to close next year.

The Lower Mainland’s single garbage incinerator in Burnaby is a 20-year-old facility that generates $10 million worth of electrical power a year but requires a constant source of garbage.

A report by the Vancouver Board of Trade raises several questions about burning garbage and says it would be more expensive — $52 per tonne versus the $35 per tonne it costs to dump it in Cache Creek. The Recycling Council of BC also opposes incinerators.

Waste committee chair Marvin Hunt has said three waste-to-energy plants might be built — one south of the Fraser, one in the northeast sector and one on the North Shore.

– with files from Black Press

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