Although billed to take place early this year, Metro Vancouver has not set a date for public consultations on the proposal to build a $500-million garbage incinerator on Squamish Nation lands at Port Mellon.
“Our intention is to have public meetings in each community in 2014,” Paul Henderson, general manager of solid waste services for Metro Vancouver, said Tuesday.
In addition to the Port Mellon site, Metro is looking at proposals for Nanaimo, Delta and South Vancouver, as well as six undisclosed locations submitted under a separate request-for-proposal (RFP) process.
Officials are still working through the six undisclosed proposals and Henderson said he expects Metro will announce in April which of those sites will be optioned.
The other communities, including Port Mellon, can still expect to be consulted early this year, Henderson confirmed, but said it wasn’t known whether those meetings will be held before or after the options are announced on the RFP sites. After communities are consulted, the number of possible sites will be short-listed to three or four.
“There’s still many, many stages to get down to the final proponents,” Henderson said. “We’re also committed to a full environmental assessment process, regardless of the location of the site.”
Metro’s timetable for announcing the selected site is next year, with startup projected for 2018. The plant would burn an estimated 370,000 tonnes of garbage per year.
The Port Mellon proposal from Aquilini Renewable Energy would convert waste to energy, providing power to Howe Sound Pulp and Paper as well as closed containment coho salmon farms. It would also use captured carbon dioxide for a pharmaceutical algae farm and agricultural greenhouse operation.
Since it is located on Squamish Nation land, the 10-hectare site is not subject to Sunshine Coast Regional District zoning bylaws.
Aquilini is a subsidiary of Aquilini Investment Group, headed by Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini.
In early December, a company spokesman said the agreement signed with Metro specifies that only Metro can comment on the project at this stage.