Eco-depo wins over Pritchard residents

A proposed waste and recycling centre in Pritchard appears to be gaining public acceptance, as crowds were smaller and quieter at a community meeting on Wednesday.

"What we have now is an incredible improvement from 30 years ago," resident Ed Herman said of the existing transfer station compared to the historical landfill before it.

"What you've shown us is fantastic," he said to a smattering of applause from from about 45 residents on hand at Pritchard Community Hall.

Another resident stood up, following a detailed presentation by TNRD administrators, and called it "the perfect place."

"It's beside an existing station. . . . I can't wait for you to get it done," said Jim Irwin.

The TNRD purchased property beside an existing waste-transfer station in 2010 for what it is calling the South Thompson eco-depot. The facility is largely a replacement for the Chase landfill, which will be closed next year. It will also serve as a garbage drop point for rural residents in the region. All waste will be transferred to a landfill.

The location proved initially unpopular among a vocal number of residents. But details coming from the regional district, including details on landscaping and design, appear to have won over many.

Most questions Wednesday concerned details on fire suppression, road access and questions on operations.

But a handful of residents say the site is the wrong place to handle thousands of tonnes of refuse each year.

"It's smack dab in the middle of our community," said Peter Evans.

Linda Falkener, a resident who led the charge against the proposed operation said residents "deserve better."

"No one is against going green. We'd like to know your plan in 10 years. That (additional land) could become anything."

Peter Hughes, environmental services director for the TNRD, said changes are coming because the Chase landfill is full. The regional district is also trying to increase opportunities for recycling and rein in costs to handle garbage.

"Our costs were going through the roof. We had, 24/7, people dropping everything, everywhere."
It will operate five days a week.

Incoming traffic is forecast to increase by about one-third. A single B-train will remove waste for transfer to Heffley Creek landfill every second day.

The eco-depot will include an area for recycling and a drop off for items including paint, electronics and tires. Eventually it may include a composting site.

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