Compost 'back to square 1'

Despite verbal support on Thursday from owners of locatee land in Marron Valley where a compost facility is proposed, RDOS board members voted against pursuing the site as an option once again. 

In two separate motions, the board voted against revisiting either Marron Valley or Summerland as potential sites — options that were deferred in the past two board meetings.

Following a near-hour-long discussion on Thursday in front of a packed public audience, nine of 18 board members voted against reevaluating Marron Valley, while a much larger majority voted against revisiting Summerland. 

"I think we're back to square one," electoral area A director Mark Pendergraft said following the vote.

Elizabeth Bent spoke on behalf of family members Suzette Cohen and Christine Kruger, who own the locatee land in Marron Valley, saying the family was hopeful that the board would reconsider their land for the compost site.

"We as land owners plan on developing our land, whether it is with you or not. And no neighbouring community will have any say in what we choose to develop," Bent told the RDOS.

"I would think neighbouring communities would be relieved that we're considering developing a government-regulated facility, that has strict guidelines and obligations they are required to follow."

RDOS regional waste coordinator Cameron Baughen said staff had looked at a 50-year lease for a compost facility on the land, which would be no larger than 25 acres in size.

Electoral area D director Tom Siddon, whose constituency is closest to the proposed Marron Valley site, spoke at length about concerns he'd heard from residents.

Siddon had been absent from the previous board meeting on Jan. 18 which had weighed into the board deferring any decision.

In a nearly-10-minute-long tirade, he brought attention to 36 letters he received from residents opposed to the compost site. He also stressed that the board should have a third-party assessment done to recommend what action they should proceed with.

Contrary to Siddon's input, electoral area F director Michael Brydon said the board was likely going to need to make a tough decision which would disappoint some constituents. 

"Can people that are part of the problem exempt themselves from being part of the solution?... If we enable that, I think we're wrong," Brydon said.  

Penticton Mayor Andrew Jakubeit recommended the board devise a communication strategy for how to proceed with the information they have, but no motion was put forward on the matter.

It's unclear when the compost plans will come before the RDOS board next. 


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