The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has deferred making a decision on whether to reduce landfill tipping fees from $700 a tonne to $220 a tonne in order to clean up waste from an illegal dump site on Penticton Indian Band land.
The request came after a private waste hauler, operating on Green Mountain Road on the Penticton Indian Band, went bankrupt, leaving roughly 5,000 tonnes of waste materials at the site.
The waste materials at the Appleton Waste Services site are primarily unassessed and may contain asbestos.
Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki said he is concerned with reducing the tipping fees since the reduction could mean other similar businesses will expect a bailout in the future.
Jake Kimberley, a Penticton councillor who sits on the regional district board, echoed Vassilaki’s concerns about setting a precedent.
Karla Kozakevich, chair of the regional district board, also had concerns with the proposed reduction of fees.
She said the fees should be higher since there are often unknown costs and cost overruns associated with public projects.
The Penticton Indian Band has made arrangements to have the materials removed. However, the tipping fees at the Campbell Mountain Landfill would be cost-prohibitive, the band states in a letter to the regional district.
The tipping fees, at $700 a tonne, would come to $3.5 million. The band has requested the tipping fees be waived.
Regional district staff have recommended that the fees be reduced to $220 a tonne for these wastes.
Andrew Reeder, manager of operations for the regional district, said the estimated costs to manage 5,000 tonnes of waste materials would be $1,100,000.
“While the reduction in tipping fees represents a $2.4 million loss in revenue, it will allow us to recover our costs to receive the requested wastes,” he said in a report to the regional district.
In order to receive the materials, a separate active face would need to be created at the landfill site. Other costs include importing soil developing and running the second active face and developing an access road to the site.
Reeder added that measures are needed in order to prevent a similar incident from occurring in the future.
“It is in the interest of the RDOS, the Penticton Indian Band, the federal government and the province to work together to present these types of facilities being built in the future,” he said in his report to the board.
A decision on the fee reduction has been deferred and will be considered at a later date.
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