Recycler gets green light for more compost

Cobble Hill Area Director Gerry Giles calls the approval of an amendment that will allow Fisher Road Recycling to take in more compostables in spite of community concern about odours and groundwater "disappointing."

The Cowichan Valley Regional District gave the go-ahead this week, increasing the firm’s capacity from 10,980 tonnes to 18,000 tonnes annually, though a number of conditions were imposed with the amendment.

The CVRD determined that Fisher Road Recycling has met the requirements for granting the amendment to increase incoming compostable material, increase the stockpile of Class A Compost allowed on-site and to be able to accept tar and gravel roofing material, also to be stored on-site.

"The amendment is largely due to increased compost coming from Saanich, which is unfortunate that one community would sully another with its waste because of poor planning, but that’s what’s happened," said Giles, referring to the facility’s contract with Saanich to process the kitchen scraps collected through their green-bin program.

She does praise the CVRD manager for doing his best to address the community’s concerns by imposing conditions to try to mitigate some of the worries. These include:

A comprehensive odour study, and improvements to odour management practices, monitoring, reporting and complaint response;

Expanded water quality testing;

A mandatory monitoring regime for the swale, leachate ponds and underground drainage systems;

Improvements to vector and dust suppression requirements, including the requirement of further study and certification in relation to the use of well water for dust suppression;

Requiring truck traffic to enter and exit the facility from the highway to reduce traffic near the Cobble Hill village;

Fully enclosed storage of all putrescible garbage; and Improvements to the facility’s inspection and reporting regime.

"He has upped the standards," said Giles. "But really, this has been a problem area since it was zoned back in, I think it was, the year 2000."

She also praises Fisher Road Recycling owner Dave Laing for doing what he can to try to address community concerns, but in the end, she said, the quality of life for the facility’s neighbours is impacted.

"Will this decision satisfy the community? And the answer to that is ‘no’," Giles said. Now it is up to the CVRD to enforce the stipulations placed on the amendment, she said, to protect the community’s interests. Owner Dave Laing declined to comment on the amendment.