(original post 15-Jan-2013, updated 17-Jan-2013 with latest media coverage) Growing controversy over a proposal by GlenVal Organics to build a large composting facility on a 12.32 hectare site at 25330 88 Avenue in north Langley highlights the need for integrated systems-based thinking across the Metro Vancouver region.
While Metro Vancouver’s efforts under the “Zero Waste Challenge” are laudable, this controversy provides an interesting test case — showing how policies at one level have many impacts at the local level. Everyone in the region needs to look at the impacts of their own material consumption and consider the effects of pushing their costs and environmental burdens down the line. As the Metro Vancouver region’s 24 local governments move toward a legislated ban on organics from the waste stream by 2015, municipalities are ramping up their food scraps collection systems. Several municipalities already have collection systems in place. The City of Vancouver recently expanded curbside pickup of food scraps to cover single family homes and duplexes but is still studying ways to cover multi-unit buildings.
After the Langley community raised the alarm about local impacts of the proposed composting facility and the secrecy surrounding the GlenVal Organics proposal, the company decided to hold an informational presentation as follows:
Information open house on GlenVal Organics Ltd. composting facility proposal
Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013
7 to 10 pm
Fort Langley Golf Course (Thompson room)
9782 McKinnon Crescent, Langley
On January 14, the Township of Langley Council voted 8-0 to require Metro Vancouver and Glenval Organics to make a presentation to Council on the proposed organic landfill site. (On this, see “Langley Township council wants to talk compost,” Langley Times, 16-Jan-2013.) Council has received a flurry of emails from citizens concerned about impacts of the proposal on traffic, odour, noise, environment, fisheries, aesthetics, property values, and a host of other issues. Citizens are also concerned about the lack of consultation and transparency in siting such facilities. Below is a compilation of material on this topic.
Digging deeper, we note that GlenVal Organics Ltd. is a newly formed company, as of today does not appear to have a website, and very little is available on the web about the ownership and governance of this company other than media coverage giving the name of the business development manager, Scott Temreck. The public has a right to know more about the company, its owners, its principles, and its principals. What is the track record for the proposed technology? What is the track record for the proposed operators?
Also, the proposal provides the entire Metro Vancouver region with an excellent test case to learn about our interconnectedness, and how decisions are made locally and regionally. What are the connections between organic waste from businesses and households in municipalities in the region, Metro Vancouver’s policies, and specific companies? Who’s talking to whom? Who profits? Who pays what costs? And how can the entire region come up with the most environmentally-sound, economically-efficient solution(s) to deal with organic waste?
Metro Vancouver Zero Waste Challenge
Fort Langley Community Association
Fort Langley Business Improvement Association (BIA) Board of Directors
Agenda for January 10, 2013 contains application-related documents from Glenval Organics
MEDIA COVERAGE (updated 17-Jan-2013)
Fort Langley residents concerned about a proposed organic compost facility (Global News, 17-Jan-2013) includes air photo
Compost draws council ire: Residents can see plans for a composting plant planned for North East Langleyhttp://www.langleyadvance.com/news/Compost+draws+council/7788657/story.html
By Matthew Claxton, Langley Advance, 8-Jan-2013
Compost plant public meeting date set: A proposal to build a composting facility on this 12.32 hectare property at 25330 88 Ave. is generating controversy
By Dan Ferguson, Langley Times, 2-Jan-2013
Examples of concerns voiced by local citizens:
- This site is in a flood plain. How will the proposed operators prevent seepage and run-off when waters rise (they have risen significantly twice in the past eight years)?
- This site is in a tidal zone. The site’s adjacent waters rise and fall with the tide, and are part of the Fraser River system. Also, nearby is West Creek.
- What risks would the proposed facility pose for drinking water, groundwater, wells?
- What odours would be emitted, and what would be the range if affected area in different wind conditions?
- What would be the impacts on other local ecological assets, including forest areas? What would be the impacts on local recreation?
- What would be the hours/days of operation of the proposed facility?
- What would be the short term and long term increases in vehicle traffic to the proposed site, both locally and along the access routes? Would there be impacts on the tourist town of Ft. Langley?
- The public has already been concerned about the company’s failure to provide information in a timely way.