Cara Smith offers suggestions for a municipal in-vessel composting system in Lake Cowichan. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette)

Lake Cowichan council will consider in-vessel composting

Do you compost as much of your home garbage as you can?

Cara Smith, of Lake Cowichan’s community garden, has seen many examples of the value of compost.

She talked to town council Aug. 20 about the possibility of in-vessel composting for the Cowichan Lake area.

She’s researched what’s being done already, explaining that the town’s organics are collected, then driven to Bings Creek where a $95/per ton tipping fee is charged.

She didn’t know how often it’s dumped or how much is collected, noting that collection is mandatory for residential properties but optional for commercial properties.

“Council and staff had been investigating the feasibility of implementing the processing of our organics and the purchase of an in-vessel composter but the topic had been put on hold pending the completion of the CVRD solid waste management update, which is now complete.”

She said that there were smaller in-vessel options, and asked council to look again at the possibility of moving to a local in-vessel operation for composting Lake Cowichan’s organics.

“It needs to be owned and managed by the town. We could also pursue a collaboration with the CVRD, due to the relatively low populations of Areas F and I and the Town. Perhaps the CVRD would consider purchase of an in-vessel composter for the town and house it at one of their nearby facilities.”

Smith said that although economies of scale often lead to the establishment of big, centralized facilities, “I think a simpler solution of processing at a local facility is more appropriate for the Lake communities. We could also propose that the CVRD run a pilot project to assess the viability of in-vessel composting by purchasting or leasing a unit and using it to compost the organics that are already being picked up by our town. The last one is perhaps the town would consider purchasing smaller units for use in specific areas. The only example I can think of is the Cowichan Lake Education Centre and Lakeview Park campsite,” Smith said.

One of the difficulties of any program would be how maintenance staff could fit it in to their schedules.

Council will discuss it at an upcoming strategic planning session.

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