The City of Nelson has sent a letter to the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) asking it to withdraw its temporary COVID-19 rule banning yard waste and construction waste at the Grohman transfer station.
The city argues that a build-up of such waste in the city is a fire hazard.
In an attempt to protect its workers, the RDCK announced that it would only accept “essential” garbage, such as household waste that is rotting or attracting pests.
Len MacCharles, Nelson’s fire chief and the head of the city’s emergency operations centre, addressed council at its April 6 meeting, informing them that he had written to the RDCK asking it to accept yard waste.
“Nelson has a high fire risk,” he said. “People are currently cleaning up their yards and I have seen piles of that starting to accumulate around town.”
The RDCK offers free dumping of yard waste at Grohman during the month of May, but MacCharles proposed that the free service should begin now.
“Anecdotally, the hardware stores around town are busier than ever,” MacCharles said, “largely related to people having more time at home and taking on projects.”
In response to the city’s letter, RDCK waste manager Amy Wilson told the Star the ban on yard and construction waste is temporary.
“We are working diligently to remove the material restrictions as soon as possible,” she said. “Although the public is at home generating waste from spring cleaning they must respect that our workplaces require all the protections found at other workplaces and ensure that self distancing or quarantine measures don’t get left outside our gates.”
Burning yard waste is not an option because the provincial government has banned open burning.