Let Metro Vancouver build the ‘zero-waste’ incinerator in its own backyard

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News Editor

Monday, July 29 2013

Both the Regional District of Nanaimo and the Islands Trust have come out formally opposing the idea of an incinerator being built at Duke Point to deal with waste from Metro Vancouver.

There is no reason the City of Nanaimo should not do the same, especially considering seven of the city councillors already voted to oppose the incinerator at the Regional District level.

To call an incinerator ‘zero waste’ is ludicrous. There is no such thing as zero-waste combustion. That’s basic high school chemistry: fuel + fire = water and particulates (a.k.a. smoke).

This does not take in to account the fuel burned to transport the waste to the incinerator. Whether said facility is built at Duke Point, or up in Gold River, as some have suggested, the transport costs are certainly going to offset any environmental benefits the incinerator would create.

At their meeting on Monday night last week, city councillors voted to have staff investigate legal ways (like rezoning) to prevent the incinerator from being built within city boundaries.

If they are requesting that, there is no good reason for them to also not pass a motion stating the council formally opposes the concept of an incinerator (as proposed by Metro Vancouver or any other level of government).

It could take months for staff to report back to City Council on the legal methods available. But at least take the advocacy stance and say that any means available will be used to stop the incinerator’s construction.

Metro Vancouver is not likely to put such a facility on Duke Point if the legal local government (the City of Nanaimo) is formally opposed to the project.

Likely, most Vancouver Islanders would prefer if Metro Vancouver wants to burn its garbage, it do so on the mainland. There have to be some vacant industrial sites available, which would cost much less to use in terms of transport of construction materials and the garbage upon completion.

We’re told, here on Gabriola, that the cost of being part of a federation like the RDN is sometimes paying for and being part of larger regional decisions and projects.

The city needs to take the hint from its federation neighbours, especially Electoral Areas A, B and C, which surround the City, and oppose the incinerator.