Public consultation extended for proposed compost facility

More time for compost area

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen will be giving the public more time to send in feedback on a proposed compost facility.

The issue came up at the regular board meeting Thursday.

At question was the regional district’s ability to get public feedback pertaining to a controversial regional compost and biosolids facility proposed for 1313 Greyback Mountain Road, just east of the Campbell Mountain Landfill. 

The RDOS unveiled plans to construct an in-vessel composting plant in January.

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the RDOS to waive those public hearings that only required a change to a zoning bylaw and not the OCP. 

“As long as we follow protocol to involve the public we could also carry on with regulatory zoning amendments and OCP amendments without opening it to the public,” said CAO Bill Newell. “We’re developing a protocol right now.

“We can still take written comments.”

With regard to the composting and biosolids facility, administration recommended a broader written notification of surrounding property owners and residents, creating a web-based forum for discussion, and posting of a video providing an overview of the project.

“I have fielded a lot of phone calls and emails about this, as you can see by feedback, is based on a lot of inaccurate information. We have letters saying they’re against the compost facility because they don’t want an increase in odour, when in fact this will do the opposite, and greatly reduce the amount of odour,” said RDOS chair Karla Kozakevich.

“So I think it’s important that we do some more public information and get the correct facts out there. And then receive more feedback based on the correct information being presented to the public.”

There were in excess of 50 pages of public comment and petition information included in the May 7 board agenda package. 

It is unclear when the matter will be back up for vote before the board.

“We don't have a specific timeline. I’m looking at the calendar and upcoming board meetings and trying to balance the need to get notice out, prepare the materials, and provide people with an opportunity to respond,” said planner Chris Garrish.

“I would hope for the second meeting in June or first meeting in July that we could bring this back before the board so they could see what additional comments  we’ve received.”

CAO Newell opined that it will be a long process.

“There’s going to be lots of opportunity for consultation and input. Following the ALC decision, it would have to come back to the board for rezoning, and there would be a consultation period for that,” said Newell.

“We’re probably talking years.”

“Probably next year,” added Kozakevich. “If we’re fortunate.”

The motion was carried, giving staff the backing to formulate more consultation with the public on the issue.

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