A sketch of the proposed new transfer station just west of Nelson.

A sketch of the proposed new transfer station just west of Nelson.

Moving transfer station out of Nelson starts this summer

Construction of the Nelson area’s new transfer station near Pacific Insight Electronics will get underway this summer

Construction of the Nelson area’s new transfer station near Pacific Insight Electronics will get underway this summer and is expected to be operational by spring 2014.

Regional District of Central Kootenay staff were at Nelson council on Monday with an update on the project that will see waste processing facilities moved off the Nelson waterfront for the first time in the City’s history.

RDCK resource recovery manager Mike Morrison said, though the design phase is still underway, he expects the new transfer station will offer an improved customer experience.

“There will be many design improvements that will make it easier and more efficient for residential customers dropping off materials,” Morrison said.

The new 22-acre site, purchased by the RDCK in 2011, is located at the end of Insight Drive, five kilometres outside Nelson.

A couple councillors expressed concern about the increased cost for the City to have its garbage trucks driving further to deliver loads to the landfill.

Councillor Bob Adams, however, thought the benefits would be worth it.

“There will be far less traffic on Lakeside Drive,” he pointed out. “Currently there’s about 200 vehicles per day going to and from the transfer station.”

The existing transfer station will be closed and the land remediated for other uses.

Morrison noted there will still be bins for recycling drop off some within city limits, though a location is yet to be determined.

Councillor Donna Macdonald was disappointed not to see composting included in the plan for the new transfer station.

Morrison said a commitment was made to people living near the site that there wouldn’t be active composting at the transfer station due to concerns with pests and odour. The lawn and yard waste collected will be shipped to Salmo for composting.

“We’re not going to take on [composting of kitchen scraps] ourselves, but there is a provision in our plan to provide support to an outside group if they want to organize that service,” Morrison said.

Councillor Paula Kiss brought up the need for a “free store” at the transfer station, where people can drop off materials that could be reused.

But Morrison said the transfer station is too busy to provide such a service.

“All the material that goes to the free store needs to be inspected by staff,” he said. “There isn’t time for that in Nelson, where staff have several hundred vehicles per day coming on and off the site.”

New provincial recycling regulation

Changes to provincial recycling regulations mean that by May, 2014 municipalities will no longer pick up the tab for residential recycling programs like the blue bag collection in Nelson.

Instead the companies who produce product packaging and printed paper (including the newspaper you’re reading) will take over financial and administrative responsibility for end of life disposal of the materials.

RDCK resource recovery manager Mike Morrison said this won’t change the level of collection service Nelson residents — there will still be curbside recycling.

But it will change who pays for it, and may lead to a private company taking over the recycling collection if it can provide the service for a lower cost than the City.

A non-profit society called Multi-Material British Columbia will set a “market clearing price” which producers will pay local governments (or a private organization) for the collection of recyclable materials.

Morrison said if the market clearing price offered isn’t enough to cover the current cost of collecting recycling, it may make sense to get out of the recycling business and leave it to a private company.

“We’ll have to wait and see what’s offered,” he said. “There’s a lot of unknowns at this point.”

The current contract for curbside recycling in Nelson comes up for renewable in November, but Morrison hopes to postpone signing an agreement until the new provincial policy comes into effect.