JOHN ARENDT A SHOW OF SIGNS Dave Smith, left, Brian Coffey, Valerie Coffee and Kathy Smith post some of the signs opposing a proposed regional compost facility. At present, Summerland is the preferred location for the regional site.

Concerns raised about compost site

A motion about the proposed facility has been scheduled to come before municipal council on Aug. 28

Close to 90 Summerlanders with concerns about a proposed regional compost facility met on Friday evening to discuss how to take action.

The meeting, at a home on Mitchell Avenue, was organized by people living near the site of the proposed facility.

Kathy Smith, one of the organizers said in May she and others had asked Summerland council to tell them about the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s proposal to have the facility located in Summerland.

They wrote letters to the regional district and the municipality, expressing concerns about water, air, traffic and the local economy if the site were to be located in Summerland.

At the time, they were told any decision would involve a long and detailed consultation process.

A motion about the proposed facility has been scheduled to come before municipal council on Aug. 28.

In addition, the regional district has passed a motion to use $63,000 for on-site tests. The regional district has also asked Summerland council to pass a motion to begin tests at the site for the future building and operation of the proposed sewage and compost facility.

“This will be a binding agreement and cost taxpayers thousands to alter or rescind,” Smith said.

If the regional compost facility is approved, Smith said the regional district will run the operation and Summerland will relinquish its control over the leased site.

She would like municipal council to take time to consider the effects before making a decision on the compost facility.

“What is the hurry?” she asked. “Why do so few Summerland residents know about this?”

She urged residents to write to council, attend the Aug. 28 meeting, talk with their neighbours, post signs or banners and assist with information groups to question council.

Those present at the meeting expressed their concerns about the proposed facility.

“What’s going to happen five, 10 or 20 years down the road,” asked Mel Kozun, wondering if the facility would eventually take on compost facilities from the entire valley, not just from the regional district.

Marilyn Hansen suggested the Brenda Mine site as a better location. She said this site has been recommended by Tom Siddon, a director at the regional district.

Coun. Janet Peake said members of council need to consider the decision carefully before the vote.

“Our landfill is an asset, and we should be careful with our assets,” she said. “I think there’s some risk management involved in having a landfill.”

A resolution at the council meeting is for the municipality to provide the regional district with access to the landfill site, for the purpose of carrying out technical studies related to the proposed facility.