By Ben Isitt and Zeb King, Times Colonist opinion-editorial, April 2, 2014
Next week, Capital Regional District directors will decide on the next steps for the region’s kitchen-scraps program. We believe residents and taxpayers would be best served by making CRD land at Hartland Road available for a regional composting facility.
There are a number of benefits to this strategy, which the City of Victoria and District of Central Saanich have asked the CRD to explore.
First, it keeps the resource within the capital region, reducing the cost and environmental impacts of transporting the resource up-Island or to the mainland.
Composting close to home provides easy access for the end-product — by farmers, municipal parks departments, landscapers and individual residents — closing the loop for everyone’s benefit.
Composting at Hartland also minimizes the impact of odour and trucks on residents, since the CRD land is already zoned for solid waste, with adequate buffers from residential properties and established transportation routes (kitchen scraps have gone to Hartland for 40 years, mixed with garbage).
Community opposition to Foundation Organics in Central Saanich and the Fisher Road facility in Cobble Hill demonstrates the challenge of large-scale composting on private land, leading other landowners to shelve plans for new facilities.
Finally, composting at Hartland would save taxpayers money, since we already own the land. The cost is limited to the initial capital investment and operations. No money is required to acquire land or transport the resource elsewhere, providing a cost-effective option for municipal and private haulers.
We therefore encourage the CRD board to show real leadership by developing the in-region option now: authorizing the use of CRD land at Hartland and partnering with the private sector to build a compost facility without delay.
In the future, this facility can be updated to process kitchen scraps from Saanich and recover additional resources.
We encourage all residents of the capital region to contact their mayors, councillors and regional directors sharing their views on this strategy prior to the April 9 board meeting.
Ben Isitt is a Victoria councillor and CRD director. Zeb King is a Central Saanich councillor. They both serve on the region’s solid-waste advisory committee with representatives of residents and private industry.
CBC Radio Interview
Listen to a CBC Radio interview with host Gregor Craigie and North Saanich councillor Elsie McMurphy here.