Just 10 days after flames raged throughout the Glenmore Landfill from the Walroy Lake wildfire in Kelowna, it is set to reopen to the public on Monday, Aug. 28.
While some portions of the landfill burned, all of its critical infrastructure remained untouched and the building remained operational. The only structure that received significant damage was the gas management system.
The landfill was in the evacuation order zone but was rescinded on Thursday, Aug. 24 when Glenmore Road reopened.
“It could’ve been much worse,” says Scott Hoekstra, Landfill & Compost Operations Manager. “We’ve been able to bounce back quite quickly. Staff and contractors are making progress on the many necessary repairs. We’ve had staff on site 24 hours a day working with fire-response personnel since the evacuation and we’re ahead of where I thought we would be at this point.”
When the reopening takes place on Monday, the public will be able to access the landfill’s waste transfer station and recycling depot but only household waste will be accepted to start. Compost sales will also resume on Monday. When the landfill is fully operational again, drywall, concrete, clean wood, branches, yard waste and other waste categories will be accepted.
In evacuation alert and order zones, garbage and recycling pick-ups continue to be suspended for the time being but will resume when orders are lifted.
Central Okanagan Emergency Operations is currently working on a waste-management response plan, which will be announced in the coming days. This plan will include how residents can deposit wildfire-related waste including burned fridges and freezers.
“We’re still recovering from the fire so residents may notice landfill operations are slower than usual,” says Hoekstra. “We appreciate everyone’s patience and ask those who can put off their next trip to the landfill to consider doing so.”
The landfill is also using a phased approach to reopening. While it doesn’t open to the public until Monday, large packer truck traffic is allowed to visit the landfill today (Friday, Aug. 25). On Saturday and Sunday, the landfill will accept packer trucks and roll-off bins of construction and demolition debris only.
Over the last week, the Regional District of North Okanagan, Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen and the District of Summerland opened their landfills to help when the Glenmore landfill was closed.