January 11, 2018 9:28 pm

Neighbour speaks out against Salmon Arm landfill expansion

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The expansion of a landfill in the Shuswap is prompting debate.

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District has struck a $750,000 deal to expand its Salmon Arm landfill by buying a neighbouring property.

“We need more area to do expansion of recycling activities, composting [and] marshalling of materials,” said Ben Van Nostrand, the regional district’s team leader for environmental health services.

However, some neighbours don’t want to see the expansion go ahead.

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If a plan to expand a landfill in Salmon Arm goes ahead, Howard Williamson expects to be able to see it from his back steps.

“I’m actually kind of astonished,” he said.

Currently, Williamson estimates he lives roughly 200 or 300 meters from the existing landfill. The planned expansion will also bring the landfill a lot closer to Williamson’s house.

“The backdoor of our home is 21.5 metres from the property line,” said Williamson.

Even if a buffer is put in, a landfill expansion would still bring the landfill much closer to Williamson than distance guidelines from the provincial environment ministry allow? Is allow the word we should use here?.

“They say a landfill should not be less than 500 metres from a residence,” Williamson said.

The expansion proposal has Williamson concerned about property values and potential health and safety concerns.

However, Van Nostrand explained that safety measures would be put in place including buffers and increased groundwater monitoring.

Even without the expansion, Williamson still lives within 500 meters of the dump.

And the current owners of the proposed expansion property already have provincial permission to do landfilling on the site.

“It is not like we are going into a virgin area of land. This is a piece of property that already has a permit to landfill on it,” said Van Nostrand.

Under the current permit, the type of waste allowed on the proposed expansion property is restricted.

“Anything that may become putrid as it decays… [is] expressly prohibited on that site,” explains Williamson.

Williamson worries that could change.

The proposed expansion can’t go ahead without the approval of the Ministry of Environment.

The regional district is holding a number of open houses to talk about the planned expansion and changes to their solid waste management plan.

Williamson plans to make his opposition clear.

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