Compost plant planned for Albion

Will take about $8 million to construct

The operation will be located on a three-acre lot on McKay Avenue in the Albion industrial park.

The operation will be located on a three-acre lot on McKay Avenue in the Albion industrial park.

A regional compost operation planned for Albion Industrial Park will collect potato peelings and apple cores, cedar hedge trimmings, soggy french fries as well as pizza boxes and turn them into top soil.

By doing so, Pilot Grove Soils – Maple Ridge will help the region reach its goal of removing 70 per cent of its waste from the dump by 2015 and offer a convenient place for local residents to take their organics.

Maple Ridge is one of the leaders in recycling and residents’ devotion to recycling is one of the factors that attracted Pilot Grove, said Ron Jones, who’s selling the three-acre lot at 23352 McKay Ave. to Pilot Grove.

Public opinion is moving towards recycling of green waste and he doubts if there will ever be another huge landfill as located in Cache Creek.

Jones, of West Coast Auto Group, is also an investor in the operation. The plant will take about $8 million to construct.

“As time goes by, if you’re not in the game now, you may not get a chance to get into the game later.”

Council considered a development permit for the plant on Tuesday. A staff report said the project should go ahead.

“I think the location is great. It’s right along River Road on the way to the recycling station,” said Mayor Ernie Daykin, who said organics account for about 20 per cent of the waste stream.

He said the Gore technology is proven and similar to what’s used in Everett, Wash.

“Virtually no odour.”

Daykin didn’t have exact numbers, but said the fees to drop off green waste would be less than the $56 per tonne charged at Metro Vancouver’s waste transfer station next to the Ridge Meadows Recycling Depot on 236th Street.

What remains to be worked out is how to collect the kitchen and yard waste from Maple Ridge homes. About 70 per cent of residences have private garbage pickup, so those companies need to find a way to separate green waste, Daykin added.

Ridge Meadows Recycling Society’s role also has to be defined.

“If the private sector deals with that and handles it, then that’s great.”

The lot currently is in the middle of an industrial area and should be an improvement once the landscaping’s in place, Daykin added.

“I think it’s a good thing. It’s going to be a much better use for that site than what’s currently there.”

The technology involves covering the compost piles with Gore fabric, which itself is contained within a sealed, fabric building.

The Gore process is tried and testes around the world, architect Peter Dandyk told council.

That site will be landscaped and trees preserved, while stormwater will be directed to a rain garden to minimize runoff. Car and truck traffic will be separated and it will be the only landscaped lot in the Albion industrial area.

According to a staff report, the operation is expected to trigger other industrial development.

The proposal coincides with Metro Vancouver’s goal of diverting 70 per cent of its garbage by 2015.

Bergen said later it’s the first technology of its kind in B.C. A company fact sheet says up to 20,000 tonnes of top soil a year will be produced from the facility, which would be free of pests, runoff and any leaching into the soil.

According to the company, “This will make the District of Maple Ridge home to one of the most innovative and advanced facilities in North America.

“It’s good for the environment. It’s good for the community,” Bergen added later.

The facility could serve beyond Maple Ridge, he added, possibly the northern portion of Metro Vancouver.

“It’s a very much-needed facility for the future.”

The company also plans on producing compostable plates, knives and forks for use in sports facilities and schools to further reduce the waste stream.

The announcement is also welcomed by Kim Day, executive-director with Ridge Meadows Recycling Society. The society recently proposed expanding the waste transfer station so more green waste could be accepted, but that was rejected by Metro Vancouver.

“We’re excited that Pilot Grove is doing something in Maple Ridge.”