The Vancouver Landfill in Delta is owned by the City of Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver lowers bar for incineration alternatives

Qualifications debated for new waste-to-energy plant

Metro Vancouver will set a lower bar for emerging waste-to-energy technologies to be considered when it calls for bidders to build a new plant to consume a big chunk of the region’s garbage.

Proponents must have recently operated a reference plant somewhere in the world where they can prove their technology processes at least 25,000 tonnes per year of municipal garbage.

That’s a much lower threshold than Metro staff had previously envisioned but a majority of the regional district’s zero waste committee endorsed the change Thursday.

It’s also a lot less than the 370,000 tonnes per year in extra waste-to-energy capacity the region plans to build by 2018.

The compromise aims to satisfy Vancouver councillors, who oppose conventional garbage incineration outright but – after failing to block it entirely – want to give alternative technologies a fighting chance of being chosen.

On the other side of the debate are directors who think mass-burn incineration will ultimately be the most efficient, cost-effective solution and fear Vancouver’s quest for a greener, newer system may prove unworkable, too costly or both.

Vancouver Coun. Andrea Reimer had proposed to set the bar even lower – at just 15,000 tonnes processed by emerging technology a year – but other directors rejected that.

“That is scary for me,” said Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, who supports incineration as a tried-and-true option.

He suggested Vancouver is happy to fight incineration not simply out of aspirations to be seen as a green city, but because it owns the Vancouver Landfill in Delta, where it has cheap garbage disposal that’s separate from Metro’s system.

“They’ve got the Vancouver Landfill at a significantly reduced cost compared to what all the rest of us are paying.”

Reimer rejected that accusation, saying Vancouver council is not pro-landfill.

“We would love to get out of the landfill business,” she said, adding she fears that if the region invests in mass-burn incineration it will end up “feeding the beast” – sending too much garbage to be burned – instead of finding better ways to recycle more of it.

Metro’s board will vote at the end of October on the final procurement strategy, which starts with a request for qualifications to identify qualified proponents and their technologies.

A separate call will seek potential sites – both in and out of region – for the new waste-to-energy plant or plants.

A short list of proponents would then be matched with sites and they would bid in 2014 in a final request for proposals.

After a winning bidder is picked in early 2015, the project would go through an environmental assessment and other permitting.

Surrey Coun. Marvin Hunt said he wants Metro staff to consider not just the costs of a new plant but the revenue it might generate from the sale of electricity, heat or other byproducts.

“To me it’s a much bigger picture than just the cost of the facility and choosing the cheapest one possible,” he said.

Hunt also proposed – as a way of mollifying Vancouver – that staff ensure at least one non-incineration technology gets short-listed.

But that was shot down when Corrigan and others said it would be wrong to deem a proposal to be qualified that wouldn’t otherwise pass that test.

Metro staff said they are confident non-incineration options will be proposed and will qualify for consideration on their own merits.

The Metro board last month ordered the committee to reconsider the procurement process to make it easier for emerging technologies that have had less time to prove themselves.

Metro is also edging towards what it promises will be extensive consultations on the entire process.

Regional meetings in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley would happen early next year to outline the process to the public.

But that’s expected to be just the start of years of public input sessions as each stage unfolds.

About 280,000 tonnes per year is burned at the existing Burnaby waste-to-energy plant.

The region intends to stop trucking trash to the Cache Creek regional landfill, reduce dumping at Delta, boost the recycling rate from 55 to 70 per cent and later 80 per cent, and process the undiverted garbage at waste-to-energy plants.

Google+

Just Posted

Newton bingo hall to close after April 21

Gateway Casinos ‘working to transition its employees from the Newton facility to other Gateway properties in the region’

‘Significant waitlists’ for early French Immersion programs in Surrey

District struggling to find specialist teachers for French Immersion, Fine Arts and Montessori programs

Surrey MP apologizes for inviting criminal to Trudeau reception

Posing for photos with controversial people has been a bane for politicians

White Rock ‘demoviction’ complaint heard at RTB

Decision expected to be made next week

‘Anti-gym’ for baby boomers opens in Surrey today

Expanding Surrey-born company is brainchild of city’s 2017 Business Person of the Year, Sara Hodson

VIDEO: B.C. superfans soak in 2018 PyeongChang Olympics

Trio, including two from the Okanagan, have been cheering on Summerland Olympian Kripps among others in Korea

More snow expected on the Coquihalla, Highway 3

Environment Canada says five to 10 centimetres will come down between Friday and Saturday mornings

New charges against ex-Trump campaign associates

More charges were laid Thursday against President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman and his business associate

Man accused in death of Winnipeg teen Tina Fontaine not guilty

Raymond Cormier was accused of killing Indigenous 15-year-old and dumping her body in the Red River

Okanagan real estate agents brace for speculation tax impact

“There’s a real potential for a domino effect to hurt the market in Kelowna.”

Alberta drops B.C. wine boycott, Notley says Horgan ‘blinked’ on pipeline

B.C. government announces court reference on proposed diluted bitumen restriction

Lane closures on Alex Fraser, Port Mann bridges considered to avoid ‘ice bombs’

Province spent $5 million clearing both bridges last years

UPDATE: Northern Health dealing with lack of 121 registered nurses

Auditor General says officials need to improve internal management, track effect of new policies

B.C. businesses say new health tax will raise prices for consumers

Province announced that MSP will be gone by 2020

Most Read