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How the SCRD may be able to extend the Sechelt landfill's life

The chance to add three years to the Sechelt landfill’s lifespan by relocating its contact water pond cited as “the best news we have had about the landfill in four years.' Plus the board seeks a second opinion on new landfill sites and renewal of licence over a closed site.
Sechelt Landfill
File photo of the Sechelt Landfill.

The chance to add three years to the Sechelt landfill’s lifespan by relocating its contact water pond, was cited as “the best news we have had about the landfill in four years” by Area E director Donna McMahon at the Sept. 8 Sunshine Coast Redional District (SCRD) Board meeting.

Contact water is surface water runoff that has touched garbage and is classified as leachate. It is retained in a secured pond for treatment.

The board approved spending $55,920 from its existing budget for solid waste services to have consulting engineers XCG explore reclaiming more space for refuse disposal by moving the pond within the facility’s land base or off-site.  

A staff report received at the meeting stated that recommendations from the study are slated to go to the board in November, supported by an in-person community presentation of the consultant’s findings.

XCG is to determine if and where pond relocation is possible and the potential impacts of making those moves. It has been assigned to create design and construction cost estimates for different site options as well as an outline of the regulatory requirements for relocation options identified.

With that in hand, more detailed design and budget work can be prepared for the SCRD’s 2023 budget process, slated to start in late 2022.

The staff report said the Sechelt landfill – as it is now – is forecasted to reach capacity by mid-2025.

Second opinion on new sites sought

The board is also looking for a second opinion on the three sites, all in Halfmoon Bay, identified as potential new landfill locations in the 2021 Future Waste Disposal Options Analysis Study. The new review will be part of an expanded site feasibility contract with Sperling Hansen Associates (SHA) and will include exploring any additional sites within the region with potential for landfill development.  

The board approved the contract change. Results for elected officials' review are anticipated in the first quarter of 2023.

SHA was awarded an $85,152 contract for the technical feasibility study in May 2022 and the new assignment will add just over $42,000. The board also approved a staff recommendation that a $12,500 contingency be put in place to cover essential and unforeseen work.

New tenure application for closed landfill site

An application to the province for a 30-year renewal of the SCRD's tenure over the closed Halfmoon Bay Landfill was endorsed by the board. 

Since August 2012, the regional district has maintained a Licence of Occupation (LOC) over that site, which stopped receiving waste in the mid-1980s. That LOC expired earlier this year and is being extended on a month-to-month basis. 

A staff report provided at the meeting noted that the province has a backlog of applications. It anticipated that the review timeline would be in the two-year range. As the area falls within the swiya of the shíshálh Nation, the application will be reviewed under the shared decision-making process established as part of the 2018 Foundation Agreement of the province and the Nation.

SCRD staff conduct annual visual inspections of the site and area to ensure that the closed landfill site is posing no threats to public health or the environment .