Tipping fees at the Alberni Valley Landfill will be raised for the first time in more than 20 years.
New rates approved by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board this summer are set to come into effect on Nov. 1. The changes include:
– Tipping fee rates increasing from $120 per tonne to $130 per tonne.
– For residents who self-haul, the rate increases from $2 per bag to $3 per bag, with a $6 minimum charge.
– Any volume of yard waste or recyclables can be brought for free at any time.
The decision to have a $6 minimum has registered some concern from residents who may need to store up to two bags of garbage for their trips to the landfill and are worried about attracting wildlife. But Jenny Brunn, manager of operations for the ACRD, said the decision was made to discourage high traffic volumes at the landfill.
“Our goal is to encourage less frequent trips and shorter line-ups,” she said. “We’re trying to encourage people to recycle more. We know that one-third of the waste going to the landfill is recyclable material.”
In addition, local composting business Earth, Land and Sea Compost will be starting up a pilot project on Nov. 1 so that residents can compost their kitchen and yard waste. The program will allow residents to acquire a 20-litre bucket for a $25 refundable deposit. When the bucket is full, it can be dropped off for $5 (plus GST). Then, participants can simply take a cleaned bucket home or a replacement biodegradable bag.
Earth, Land and Sea president Aaron Hetherington says that the new service will provide a solution to the problem of organic material material in the landfill.
“We want to turn local waste materials such as food, wood, fish and even yard waste into quality new products that are useful to both residents and businesses,” he said in a press release.
Earth, Land and Sea is located at 4716 Tebo Avenue (9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday) or at Block 105 Seizai Road (winter hours to be determined).
Some residents have also brought up concerns about illegal dumping, but Brunn says research has shown that people who choose to burn or dump illegally are seldom influenced by changes in garbage rates.
“I don’t think this is going to be what makes people decide to dump in the woods or not,” she said.
The new tipping fees will cover increasing operational costs for the ACRD and will hopefully discourage people from bringing garbage in from out of the region, said Brunn. ACRD staff consulted with local haulers and the board of directors explored funding options before the decision was made.
The rate per bag has not increased since 1995. But because of annual inflation and increased requirements for environmental monitoring, the rate increase was “necessary” for the ACRD to continue to operate the landfill properly.
In terms of neighbouring landfills, the rate for the Regional District of Nanaimo is $130 per tonne, with an $8 minimum site fee. The Comox Valley Regional District’s rate is also $130 per tonne, with a $6 minimum fee plus $4 site fee.
“We feel the new rates are in line with, or less than, neighbouring landfills,” said Brunn. “And there is still no site fee to use the recycling or yard waste services.
“We want to encourage diversion,” she added. “It’s not going to cost anything to recycle.”
For more specific details about the rate increases, check out the ACRD’s website.