After receiving complaints about the Grohman Narrows transfer station from a neighbour, the Regional District of the Central Kootenay has adopted a policy to restrict employees from working before 7 a.m. and after 7 p.m. and another to consider visual impact.
Transfer station employees historically have started early to get trucks ready, complete safety checks and take advantage of the low traffic volume in the morning. The transfer station moved last July from its lakeside location by the Nelson airport to its Grohman Narrows location west of the city on Insight Road.
“I’m surprised we didn’t hear complaints at our other location,” said RDCK Area F director Ron Mickel, referring to how well sounds travels across water.
“It echoes where we are now as it’s narrow. It was especially noisy with the opening [of the new station].” Mickel was referring to the blasting required to level out the site before it opened. He also said the initial notice to the public stated the operating hours would be 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m, but that didn’t address the times employees would be preparing and cleaning up during their work day.
The board adopted a new policy during its November board meeting that employees must get special permission to operate outside of 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. unless extended hours are required for emergency repairs or maintenance.
“It is still a lot if you’re trying to live in proximity,” said Mickel. He added the complainants are happy for now, as before the new transfer station began operation,“they lived an ideal existence which was quiet and peaceful.”
“In the past, we’ve had the public in mind, and he was kind of forgotten in this.”
Mickel said where the resident used to see trees, they now see a “big white building and bright blue trucks.” The requirements did specify neutral colours were to be used. While some may argue white is neutral, it stands out against the forest green.
Uli Wolf, the RDCK’s general manager of environmental services, said the white cover was chosen before the complaint was made and that it was selected because it was more durable than a green-coloured option. He added the green option was not as camouflaged as one would think.
“In a normal winter, the white awning would blend in with the snow,” he said.
Mickel said the greyish colour of the scale house works well. As for the trucks and trailers, they are bright blue for safety reasons. However, Mickel pointed out they are stored directly in the resident’s line of sight.
The RDCK policy will now have to be considered when it comes time to replace or maintain anything at the new facility.
“Society now is moving towards less visual impact and we didn’t and I consider that a failure,” said Mickel.
How busy is the new transfer station since the big move from the Nelson waterfront? “A lot busier than I expected. We’ve had more than 400 in a day. The average is 200 in BC but we’re twice that.”