The public will have a chance to speak out about a proposed regional compost facility before Summerland’s municipal council decides whether to allow the facility in the community.
The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen has been interested in developing and operating a regional compost facility. In August, the regional district selected Summerland as the preferred site for this facility.
Earlier, Marron Valley was also considered.
The Summerland site has generated considerable outcry and opposition from within the community, but Linda Tynan, chief administrative officer for Summerland, said a final decision has not yet been made.
At the municipal council meeting on Monday evening, council voted to grant the regional district authority to access the Summerland landfill to carry out technical studies related to the proposed facility.
Municipal staff will execute an access agreement for this purpose.
Tynan said the testing and access agreement are needed before council can decide on whether to allow the facility.
“We can’t even say that we oppose it in principle,” Tynan said. “We don’t have enough information.”
In addition, municipal staff are developing a comprehensive public consultation strategy for this facility, to provide information to the public and to receive public feedback.
The public engagement process could include open houses, a survey and tours of the site.
If the Summerland site is chosen, the regional district would require a lease from the municipality.
“Summerland’s mayor and council have not yet discussed the RDOS proposal and the subject is being formally introduced to council at this meeting,” Tynan said in a report included in the Aug. 28 municipal council agenda package. “It is evident that the mayor and council will require more information before being able to determine whether concerns raised about the project could be mitigated and before being able to have a fully informed discussion about the benefits and risks.”
Mayor Peter Waterman has spoken about the importance of council considering the proposal before making a decision to accept or reject it.
He said there are potential gains for Summerland from having the facility located at the landfill.
“The benefit to Summerland is that we will have a better way of handling our biosolids,” he said.
However, he also said he needs to know the facility will run cleanly when it is in operation.
“Summerland’s not interested in a facility that’s not state-of-the-art,” he said.