By Trevor Busch
The town’s compost operator plans to have a compost facility operational in the community by early 2016 in anticipation of a cart-based solid waste collection initiative.
An important part of the town’s initiative to modernize its solid waste management system, Don Francis of Bio-Can (the town’s preferred compost developer and operator) provided an update on the status of the project to develop a composting facility at a site on 80th Avenue.
“I just wanted to make sure that you guys all understood that this project is still high on our list of priorities,” said Francis, speaking at the Oct. 13 regular meeting of town council. “The delay with the M.D. (of Taber), all of the goings on and what happened there, delaying it — Greg (CAO Birch) and Gary (Scherer, director of public works) and others in the community kindly found us another site. It’s a lot of competing priorities, other projects going on, just life getting in the way of getting this one back up, getting shovels in the ground and getting going on it.”
According to their projections, the Town of Taber is expecting to save over $200,000 per year if residents and businesses divert compostable materials to a local treatment facility, although there has been no indication that town residents might see a financial benefit from the program passed back to them through reduced waste collection fees or other cost savings.
“I didn’t want to send you a letter, or an email, or conference call, I wanted to come here personally to let you know it is a project that we’re just as interested in as we were when we did the initial application to the M.D. The boys are putting the final touches on the application for this site,” said Francis.
Francis confirmed Bio-Can plans to have a compost facility operational in Taber by April 2016.
“Today, it’s a re-affirmation that Bio-Can is committed to the project, and the timing for us is we want to be composting by April. That’s our objective, and we think that’s very do-able. We’d like to be collecting materials as well when that all happens, through the bid process and all of those things that you guys do. But I just wanted to make sure that you guys understood that it is a priority for us, and we’re going to start working towards that objective in terms of the timeline and getting to April, and getting operational.”
Making a veiled reference to the earlier decision of the M.D. of Taber’s Subdivision and Development Authority to deny a town application for a composting facility located at the regional waste transfer station, Coun. Randy Sparks lauded Bio-Can’s continued commitment to the community.
“I appreciate what you’ve just said, and that you guys are still very interested, because it has been frustrating I’m sure for you, for the town, with a lot of the road blocks that have been put in place for such a facility. Because it is needed, we need you here, and we want you here, and it’s good to hear that you want to be here. April sounds pretty dang good to me to get that all going. I appreciate you and your group’s sticking with it, and sticking with the Town of Taber. I sure appreciate it.” said Sparks.
Mayor Henk DeVlieger expressed excitement as the Town of Taber readies itself for the implementation of its new solid waste collection initiative.
“It’s very much appreciated, too, that we can open communication about the whole project. By the time we get our truck and totes in place, it probably will be very close to the same time. I’m excited about seeing this happen.”
According to Francis, the composting industry is exploding in Western Canada, something which has unfortunately stretched resources thin for the company.
“Our business model has exceeded our expectations. We’re going to sell out of product this year. We have a dozen projects going on in Western Canada, and we’ve said no to another 10. But Taber is something that’s very important to us — in terms of the commitment we made — and strategically and logistically in Alberta. We’re going to make it happen.”
Francis went on to confirm the organization is highly motivated to begin an educational component to a composting rollout for the community, tentatively scheduled for early 2016.
“Absolutely. Whatever you guys need — open houses, public forums — whatever medium you want to use to get the message out. We love doing that.”
At their Oct. 13 meeting, town council voted unanimously (5-0) to accept as information the update provided by Bio-Can on the town’s composting initiative. Coun.(s) Jack Brewin and Rick Popadynetz were absent.