garbage plan 

Talkin' trash A $100,000 study dealing with the future of solid waste in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District is going back to the drawing board after Mayor Ted Nebbeling blasted a plan to have Whistler become a regional landfill. Sparks were flying at the Whistler Conference Centre last Thursday when the SLRD Solid Waste Management Plan draft was introduced to the Solid Waste Steering Committee. Nebbeling admits he through a "monkey wrench" onto the table when he said there is no reason — logistically or economically — to send the region's waste to Whistler. The draft SLRD Solid Waste Management Report, two years and $100,000 in the making, is being quickly revised to remove the site-specific recommendations following Nebbeling's unexpected opposition to the plan. "The whole focus of one of the recommendations was on making Whistler a regional landfill and regional compost site and I took exception to that," Nebbeling said following the meeting. "It's not a matter of geography, you just don't ask one area to be a regional garbage dump for a whole area." The draft report, prepared by UMA Environmental Consulting, outlines two major options for the future of solid waste that is not recyclable, re-usable or reducible. One set of options would keep garbage in the regional district at regional landfills. The export option would see trash shipped to either Cache Creek or Washington State. Nebbeling says expanding the Whistler landfill to accommodate garbage shipped from Squamish and Pemberton would not only cost the municipality money it would create a bigger dump along the Cheakamus River, an eyesore visible from the south-west side of Whistler Mountain — which is scheduled to be developed in the next decade. "That would be really nice, ski down to Whistler Mountain's new base area and get a good look at a garbage dump. That's a step backward not forward," he says. Nebbeling says it looks to him like the consultant looked at a map of the regional district, found the geographic centre and determined that to be the best site for a regional composting and landfill facility. The NDP government is making all regional districts in the province create a solid waste management plan, designed to reduce B.C.'s solid waste by 50 per cent by the year 2000. Nebbeling says the issue has to be looked at on a community-by-community level. If the goal is to reduce waste across the SLRD by 50 per cent, that reduction should not come at the expense of one community, he says. "If Pemberton gets to ship all of their garbage to Whistler then their landfill is reduced by 100 per cent, but the Whistler landfill is going to be taking more garbage, and that could possibly cost our taxpayers more… I can't endorse that type of action," Nebbeling says. He says if the regional landfill option is the one endorsed by the SLRD, then the landfill site has to be in an area outside any municipal boundaries. Time is running out as the Solid Waste Management Plan has to be complete by the end of the year and the steering committee still would like to see the plan endorsed by municipal councils in the district.

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