Following public outcry, the City of Kamloops will not pursue plans to collect asbestos materials at its Kamloops Resource Recovery Centre (the former privately owned Owl Road Dump in Valleyview).
The city’s civic operations committee heard on Monday that materials will instead continue to be collected at the Mission Flats landfill. The Valleyview community organized around the issue and created an online petition, which garnered more than 300 signatures, opposing the asbestos-collection idea.
“Based on how it kind of got rolled out to the public, there was some apprehension,” city environmental services manager Glen Farrow told KTW. “The fact that we weren’t able to get out in front of it and communicate effectively how it’s handled, how it’s covered, all the different processes that eliminate that risk of processing it at Owl Road. We felt it wasn’t worth pushing forward.”
At an earlier civic operations committee meeting, the city proposed expanding the Kamloops Resource Recovery Centre to accept asbestos-containing waste. The site, at 400 Owl Rd., was considered favourable by staff due to it having enough space to accept the materials for 10 to 15 years and development costs of about $100,000.
An alternative expansion of the northern slope at Mission Flats — the location where asbestos-containing materials had historically been taken in Kamloops — is only expected to provide a short-term solution of five to eight years and would come at a cost of between $150,000 to $200,000.
Farrow said Mission Flats continues to be a viable option.
“We’re just going to continue status quo, essentially,” he said. “We are expanding. There will be an additional cell at Mission Flats on the northern portion of the site.”
As for how the decision impacts the city, Farrow said that in all likelihood, the city would have eventually pursued both options and said it is “business as usual.”
He said the city has moved forward quickly with the new cell in order to accommodate a large volume of asbestos-containing material from the Sept. 5 Parkcrest elementary fire.
“This happened, it just greenlighted it sooner rather than later,” Farrow said. “One of the benefits of having that new cell on that northern face of the landfill, it allows us to keep it away from the rest of the public that are dropping product there.”
Asbestos materials are handled by abatement companies, which deliver it in thick plastic bags to the city’s disposal site. From there, it is covered in dirt. It remains confined throughout the process and those who work with the material use ventilation equipment.