Whistler's waste hits the road 

Council sets goal for zero solid waste in RMOW

Whistler's trash is going to Cache Creek.

The decision comes just as council set the goal of zero solid waste for the resort municipality.

It’s now going to cost Whistler more to dispose of its garbage but that may encourage residents to reduce and recycle even more, moving the resort to its zero waste goal.

Council made the decision on Monday night without raising very many questions or concerns.

The move to Cache Creek has been in the works ever since council decided earlier this year to put the athletes village in the Lower Cheakamus, next to the landfill. The athletes village is slated to become resident housing following the 2010 Games.

Staff were weighing options between trucking the waste to Cache Creek in the B.C. Interior or to the Rabanco Landfill further away in Washington State.

After the detailed analysis, Cache Creek came out as the preferred option.

The decision means the cost of disposing Whistler's garbage is going to increase from $25 per tonne to almost $70 per tonne.

The impact for local residents is a parcel tax increase of $29 per year but staff are exploring the possibility of decreasing the sewer utility charges to offset this solid waste increase. They may be able to do this because of healthy financial reserves in the wastewater area.

Cache Creek also accepts waste from Vancouver, Abbotsford, the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Fraser Valley Regional District, among others.

Whistler will still collect its garbage at a local transfer station. Ultimately, however, council has set a goal of zero solid waste for the RMOW.

This is part of Whistler 2020 (formerly known as the Comprehensive Sustainability Plan) which states: "… the resort community's solid waste stream is continually reduced through purchasing decisions, recycling and composting options and innovative ways of using waste as a resource. Demonstrations in the resort community show how the output of one process can be useful input for another, and have resulted in ideas for new economic development and cost savings."

Councillor Ken Melamed highlighted how the decision to truck garbage to Cache Creek will help reduce greenhouse gases, which is an important part in meeting the Kyoto Protocol.

The Cache Creek landfill gas is collected and flared to reduce GHG emissions, something which was not done at the Whistler landfill.

Pending approvals from the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District, the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, the Ministry of Water, Land & Air Protection, the Greater Vancouver Sewerage and Drainage District and the Village of Cache Creek, Whistler will be closing the landfill this year.

The agreement with the GVS&DD will be flexible. Whistler will continue to work with the District of Squamish on a regional landfill business plan which could eventually see the resort's waste going to an upgraded and expanded landfill in Squamish.

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