The Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) will reduce landfill hours and raise tipping fees by $25 per tonne to offset increases in the regional solid waste budget.
Directors agreed March 6 to a budget proposal that will see tipping fees for non-recyclable waste go up by 20 per cent to $150 per tonne starting Sept. 1.
Also starting in September, the Sechelt landfill will be closed Mondays year round and the Pender Harbour landfill will be closed Tuesdays year round.
The plan was expected to be formally approved as part of the 2013 budget during the March 14 SCRD board meeting.
The tipping fee increase will bring in $85,000 in 2013 and $190,000 next year, staff calculated. The last increase, from $110 to $125 per tonne, went into effect May 1, 2012.
The reduced landfill hours are expected to save $30,000 this year and $95,000 in 2014.
The extra income and savings will offset $171,500 in landfill cost increases and $51,400 for the Town of Gibsons green waste program, totaling $223,000 in extra expenses this year, much of it due to new provincial solid waste requirements.
As well, part of that cost is to increase the SCRD’s closure reserves for the Sechelt landfill, said Dion Whyte, manager of sustainable services.
“We have unfortunately been underfunded in those reserves,” Whyte said.
Targeted for 2031, the closure cost for the Sechelt landfill is estimated at more than $8 million.
In his report to the budget committee, Whyte warned that raising tipping fees “may have impacts on the occurrence of illegal dumping.”
The revenue estimates, Whyte also noted, “are questionable given the potential for the tip fee increase itself to discourage self-hauling of materials to landfill sites.”
SCRD chair Garry Nohr said directors all shared those concerns about illegal dumping and reduced hauls to the landfill.
“There’s a point where you hit the max and you start losing,” Nohr said, calling the budget plan a short-term measure while the regional district learns more details about the Multi-Material BC packaging and printed paper recycling program. “This is an interim thing as far as I’m concerned,” Nohr said.
Separate from the general tipping fee increase, the SCRD’s disposal fee for asphalt roofing material will go up starting May 1 from $140 to $165 per tonne.
Also May 1, treated and unclean wood waste will be accepted as a new controlled material, with the fee set at $265 per tonne. The high rate reflects the cost of exporting the material to a lined landfill site on the Lower Mainland, Whyte said. “We can’t landfill it and there is no diversion option for that material,” he said.