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Whistler’s garbage still going south for now

Province making noise about banning garbage export

Whistler will continue sending its garbage south of the border, though the provincial government plans to ban the export of B.C. trash.

In last week's throne speech the province announced that it is making moves to prevent communities like Whistler from shipping garbage to the U.S., preferring instead a made-at-home solution.

In many ways, however, the landfill in Washington State is the Resort Municipality of Whistler's only option.

Municipal administrator Bill Barratt explained this week that Whistler had exhausted all its options when it closed its own landfill in November 2005 to make way for the 2010 athletes' village-cum-resident housing neighbourhood.

"Rabanco (in Washington State) was the option until things got sorted out in B.C.," he said.

"We're more than happy to work with the province once they have a solution in place."

Barratt was responding to the message in last week's throne speech, which stated: "We will act to outlaw the international export of British Columbia's garbage and landfill waste."

The announcement comes on the heels of a request from Vancouver to temporarily export 600,000 tonnes of waste every year to Washington. The city is facing a crisis of sorts, running out of options to dump its landfill waste as the Cache Creek landfill reaches capacity.

Barratt said the RMOW has a contract and a good working relationship in place with the Rabanco landfill operators. He expects Whistler will be honouring its contract.

At the same time, taking care of waste within the province is a preferred option if a solution becomes available.

"I think we should be doing that (taking care of our own garbage)," said Barrett.

Whistler diverts approximately 40 per cent of its waste from the landfill through recycling and composting.