garbage 

What used to be just called garbage is now called big business. Just ask Mark Rowlands, solid waste co-ordinator with the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District. All of B.C.'s regional districts must have a Solid Waste Management Plan completed by the end of this year. Rowlands just received a draft of Stage Two of the SLRD's plan. It lays out the framework of how to deal with the garbage in the Sea to Sky Corridor as the NDP's deadline nears to reduce B.C.'s solid waste by 50 per cent by the year 2000. What is also drawing near is the almost quantum shift in thinking which is going to have to occur in the mindset of people in the SLRD — stretching from Britannia Beach to D'Arcy — as the costs of coping with trash become part of their yearly tax assessment. And the costs are cold, hard cash. SLRD representatives met with politicians from throughout the Sea to Sky Corridor yesterday at the Whistler Conference Centre to go over the draft as part of the process to make recommendations and fine tune the document. The 107 page draft Regional Solid Waste Management Report, written by UMA Environmental, is the product of two years of public input and research and is full of facts and figures dealing with trash. According to Rowlands, the days of every town having its own dump are long gone. The SLRD is considering regional landfills, closing landfill sites and the possibility of paying to ship the region's waste into another district, or even another country. "The big choice with landfilling is there is going to have to be a decision made whether or not we want to keep landfilling in the regional district or look outside," Rowlands says. In the business of garbage any option is not cheap; the cost of taking out the trash runs in the millions of dollars annually. "A lot of the larger disposal companies view solid waste almost like a commodities market," he says. "Garbage may be big business, but it also generates big dollars — if done right." The approximately 40,000 residents of the SLRD will produce about 42,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste in 1995. Solid waste is broken down into three parts: residential waste, commercial and institutional waste and demolition, land clearing and construction waste. Whatever cannot be recycled or reused will eventually go into local landfills. As landfills fill up and environmental regulations tighten, Rowlands says the traditional dump becomes harder to manage and maintain. In many areas south of the border local governments have moved away from local dumps and toward the creation of mega-landfills in environmentally and economically suitable areas. Recommendations in the landfill options chapter of the report include innovative plans to deal with garbage in the SLRD. The report recommends the three most cost-effective options out of the eight put forward. The first recommendation would include the operation of three landfills in the SLRD, would require the expansion of the Whistler and Squamish landfills and the continuation of the Lillooet/Area B landfill. Estimated cost: $1,906,000/year. The second recommendation would have the Whistler landfill become the landfill for the entire south of the SLRD, including Squamish, while the Lillooet and Area B landfill would continue to serve the northern portion of the SLRD. Cost $1,869,000/year. The third, and most innovative option, would have a consortium of Carney's Waste Systems and Regional Disposal Company haul waste from the south SLRD to Surrey, where it would be moved by rail to the Roosevelt Landfill in south central Washington State. The Lillooet Area B landfill would continue to serve the north SLRD. Estimated cost $2,588,000/year.

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