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Abbotsford reaffirms its position against trash incineration

Abbotsford does not support Metro Vancouver’s plan to incinerate garbage.

Council is expected to approve a staff recommendation to send a letter to Metro Vancouver stating the city’s position against burning trash.

Councillors were scheduled to vote on the issue Monday afternoon.

“Mayor and council sent a letter last year voicing its opposition to waste-to-energy. What this does is reaffirm that position,” said city manager Frank Pizzuto.

While several members of council have already expressed their opinions on incineration, this would be the first official statement from the city since Environment Minister Terry Lake gave conditional approval to Metro’s solid waste management plan in July.

That plan calls for a waste diversion (recycling, reusing) goal of 70 per cent by 2015 and 80 per cent by 2020.

The remaining waste is to be incinerated in a yet to be constructed waste-to-energy (WTE) plant that burns garbage and generates reusable energy.

The staff report recommends opposition to WTE due to “unresolved expert concerns with respect to the potential to impact the Fraser Valley airshed.”

In 1988, Abbotsford partnered with Metro Vancouver to dispose of the city’s waste. Under that agreement, all curbside waste is brought to the Matsqui Transfer Station (which is owned and operated by Metro), and then shipped to the Cache Creek landfill. The agreement is extended every five years with the latest deal set to expire in 2015.

Abbotsford Mayor George Peary said if Metro moves forward with incineration, it is likely the city will have to look at other options to handle local waste.

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