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Maple Ridge councillor wants to delay garbage incinerator

Maple Ridge Coun. Bob Masse is adding his voice to the chorus questioning Metro Vancouver’s plan to burn its garbage in a half-billion dollar incinerator.

“There are just so many things we can do before we go to waste-to-energy,” Masse said Tuesday before council’s meeting, during which he was to introduce a motion to have Maple Ridge seek a five-year delay of the project.

Masse said recycling plastics technology is constantly improving, the new Multi Material B.C. program will increase recycling, while the supposed $100 per megawatt hour rate B.C. Hydro is supposed to pay Metro Vancouver for the power generated from the plant is up in question.

An April 30 letter from B.C. Hydro energy planning vice-president Doug Little cautions Metro that Hydro has made no commitment to buy power from a new plant, but is willing to explore the potential value of the electricity.

Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, however, said earlier that power is not the purpose of this facility.

“We’re building it because we want to stop waste going to landfills. Electricity is a byproduct.”

Masse cited the “feed the beast” scenario in which more garbage will be sought for incineration at the expense of recycling.

The topic was addressed by Metro Vancouver officials recently at Maple Ridge council and Masse said Metro's Paul Henderson didn’t have an answer that changed his opinion.

Maple Ridge also would be downwind of the facility, no matter where in Metro Vancouver it would be located.

Masse said that the while an incinerator may have made sense when it was approved in 2009, circumstances have changed.

Waiting five years should further clarify the business aspects of the huge project, of which Maple Ridge would have to pay three per cent.

“The Burnaby incinerator is not running at full capacity either,” Masse said.

“There’s a significant amount of concern about the whole thing.”

After the motion was introduced Tuesday, council won’t discuss it until a later meeting.

Masse wasn’t sure how many on council would back the idea.

Metro Vancouver’s neighbour the Fraser Valley Regional District, strongly opposes the incinerator.

Metro Vancouver has chosen the “most antiquated and ineffective method to eliminate their regions’ garbage that will cost their taxpayers an estimated $500 million, will increase air pollution and will negatively affect the health of citizens in both regions,” chair Sharon Gaetz said in a November release.

Metro Vancouver intends to shortlist proponents and potential sites ahead of issuing a final request for proposals in mid-2015.

The winning bidder would be picked by mid-2016 and the new plant would open in 2019.

 

– with Black Press files

 

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