Pacific Insight petitions RDCK on transfer station
A dispute over the proposed new site of the Nelson transfer station continued to simmer at a public meeting Tuesday.
Pacific Insight presented the Regional District of Central Kootenay with a petition signed by about 150 employees opposing the plan.
Company CEO Stuart Ross also submitted a letter formally outlining their objections to putting the transfer station near their plant, 5 km west of the city.
Ross says he started the petition around 3 p.m. Monday after a handful of workers asked if there was anything they could do.
“You’ll probably find 150 to 160 signatures and addresses on there,” he says. “The message is the employees are not supportive of this project.”
Pacific Insight, an electronics manufacturer, has about 200 staff overall. Ross says those who didn’t sign were likely on holidays or not on shift, as he has not heard from any who are in favour of the idea.
“It may be an advantage to some businesses, but to ours it’s a safety hazard,” he said, pointing to truck traffic that will pass by their door en route to the end of Insight Drive. “As one of the largest employers in the area, I’m really disappointed in the RDCK’s process.”
The regional district recently announced it has an option to purchase a 22-acre site for a little over $600,000 in a bid to move the transfer station off the Nelson lakefront. The overall plan including site development is expected to cost $3.3 million.
Ron Mickel, chair of the central waste committee, says the same area was identified as a prospective site in the mid-2000s.
“The regional district was working at acquiring the very land Pacific Insight is on now,” he says. “Somehow they scooped us. Now we’ve come back to the same location.”
Mickel says he feels “quite fortunate,” for he initially worried they would have to go much further afield for a site. To date, the only negative feedback he’s heard has been from Insight.
“We anticipated there might be some concerns, but felt very certain we could address them. We didn’t really anticipate the level of animosity, shall we say.”
Mickel says the company will be invited to a committee meeting to air its grievances before a final decision is made on acquiring the land: “We can definitely resolve the issues. It’s whether both sides want to.”
The regional district says no processing or landfilling will occur on site. Household garbage will be placed in closed, bearproof bins, and taken to the central landfill at Ootischenia. Recycling facilities will be provided on site, although another depot will also be maintained within city limits.
Only about three acres will actually be used, while the rest of the property will be a buffer between the transfer station, neighbouring properties, and the highway.
Mickel says currently at peak periods, 10 or 11 loads are sent daily from Nelson to the landfill, but with new technology they expect to get that down to two. He also suspects the transfer station will be frequented less by the public once it is in a more remote spot, and suggested they could adjust the hours to take Pacific Insight’s shift change into account.
There are no provisions for composting or a re-use centre, although Mickel says the former is expected to happen at the Salmo landfill and he’s pushing for the latter.
Regional district resource recovery manager Mike Morrison says the proposed site beat six others based on criteria like access to major transportation routes, proximity to Nelson, and compatibility with neighbouring land uses.
Although the area has no zoning bylaw, Pacific Insight was deemed compatible as an industrial site. However, the company says it feels insulted, and as the main affected landowner should have received advance warning of what the regional district was contemplating.