Summerland’s municipal council has rejected a proposed regional compost facility.
At the council meeting on Monday evening, council voted 6-1 to conduct no further studies about the proposed Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen facility.
The regional district had studied potential sites in the area and had recommended the Summerland landfill be chosen for the compost facility.
A request from the regional district was to allow access to the landfill to carry out technical studies at the location.
However, instead of approving this request, Coun. Richard Barkwill presented a motion to reject the facility.
He said other locations would be better suited for a compost facility. “I’m not at all convinced the RDOS has searched for better locations,” he said.
Coun. Doug Holmes said the regional district had only one proposed site under consideration.
“Right now we have one option, but one option is not a choice,” he said. “We can’t just look at one choice.”
The regional district had expressed interest in developing a regional compost facility and in August, the Summerland landfill was selected as the preferred site for the facility.
Barkwill said other factors needed to be considered, including traffic along Prairie Valley Road.
Coun. Erin Carlson said there were many unknowns surrounding the proposed location.
“There’s so much information we don’t know,” she said.
Mayor Peter Waterman said the testing was necessary for the regional district to determine if the Summerland location would be suitable for the proposed compost facility.
Coun. Janet Peake added that allowing the study would not mean council supported the proposed facility.
Residents living near the proposed facility had raised some concerns about a compost facility.
These include the increased truck traffic along Prairie Valley Road, odour from the facility and effects on Summerland’s water supply.
Petitions opposing the facility had also been presented to municipal council.
Kathy Smith, one of the residents living near the proposed facility, said a total of 554 signatures had been collected.
Kerry Anderson, a meteorologist, told council he had concerns with the report recommending the Summerland site.
He said the weather data, used to determine the effects of the wind and potential odours from the site, were taken from a weather station seven kilometres away.
“Modelling winds in a valley is actually very complex,” he said.
Grant Thompson, who had also spoken out earlier against the facility, asked council to reject the facility entirely. He said the Summerland location would be a win for Penticton and for the regional district, but not for Summerland.
The sole vote against rejecting the facility was from Mayor Peter Waterman.
In the past, Waterman had said it is important for council to know the details of the proposed facility before making a decision to accept or reject it.