The Regional District of Central Kootenay has approved the purchase of a new Nelson transfer station site five kilometers west of the city, while leaving the door open to compensating its most affected neighbour.
The purchase of the 22-acre site at the end of Insight Drive was given the go-ahead last week as part of a $3.3 million plan to move the existing transfer station off the waterfront. Staff were instructed to work with nearby property owners to “ensure issues raised during the public consultation process … are appropriately addressed.”
Electronics manufacturer Pacific Insight protested the location, which will see trucks turn off the highway at their plant and go around it. They also felt left out of the loop.
However, director Ron Mickel, who chairs the central waste committee, says they will work with the company and keep its concerns in mind as the site is developed.
“We made some commitments that we would look at a compensation package based on expenses they’ve incurred setting up the infrastructure we will be benefitting from,” Mickel says, pointing to the left-turn lane Pacific Insight helped pay for, which regional district trucks will use.
However, he adds nothing has been finalized, and the details will be worked out over the next several months. The regional district is also promising to work with the company to resolve any traffic issues.
Pacific Insight representatives addressed the committee this month, and Mickel says he sensed more of a willingness to cooperate.
“So they seem much more open to the idea … I’m not naive enough to think they’re totally happy but I think they realize we have to act in the public interest.”
He says the notion of compensating Insight was discussed before they made an offer on the property, and again at a recent public meeting.
“I don’t think we’re looking at huge sums here, but I think it’s more of a recognition of the benefits that we’re going to incur,” he says.
Mickel says as one of the area’s largest employers, Pacific Insight is a “very important constituent,” and pledged to “do everything we can to answer [their] concerns.”
Approval of the purchase followed a month-long public consultation. Commonly cited concerns included traffic safety and the potential for the transfer station to attract wildlife.
However, Mickel says the process confirmed the community generally supports moving the transfer station off the waterfront. Public suggestions will be considered during the design phase of what is expected to be a much improved facility.
The regional district will spend $610,000 to acquire the property from Richard and Faye Spilker, $2.5 million on capital costs to develop the site, and a further $170,000 on remediation of the existing transfer station.
Pacific Insight declined comment Monday.