Abbotsford Chamber calls for rejection of Metro Vancouver's waste flow bylaw

Metro Vancouver’s proposed bylaw to control the flow of waste out of the region, including banning shipments to out-of-region transfer stations such as Abbotsford, is the subject of opposition from the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce.

The Abbotsford Chamber and the BC Chamber are calling on the provincial government to reject the proposed bylaw, which critics say will be used to ensure that there is enough fuel to justify a building a new garbage incinerator.

A news release from the Chamber states that the bylaw sets the stage for tipping fee hikes on businesses that could amount to up to 100 per cent or more within a few years in order to fund operating and capital costs such as a new waste-to-energy incinerator.

“This bylaw effectively dismantles a market-driven waste management system and installs a monopoly – and the fees that go with that,” said John Winter, president and CEO of the BC Chamber. “If this bylaw goes forward, Metro Vancouver would have the unilateral power to hike tipping fees at whim, and with zero accountability.”

Mike Welte, president of the Abbotsford Chamber also voiced concern with the bylaw for shutting private industry out of providing cheaper, greener solutions to Metro Vancouver’s waste management needs, such as mixed-waste material recovery facilities (MRFs).

“MRFs are an integral component of the Fraser Valley Regional District’s Solid Waste Management Plan,” said Welte “They are a more effective tool to maximize material recovery from waste without threatening our fragile air shed in the Fraser Valley.”

“Private industry is ready and willing to put its money on the table, and take on all the financial risk, to help Metro exceed its waste reduction target before more tax dollars are invested in disposal options,” he said. “Metro Vancouver needs to take a good hard look at those opportunities, rather than barrelling forward with a plan that leaves taxpayers and businesses on the hook for a $500 million incinerator that we simply don’t need.”

John Winter said that the BC Chamber and the Chamber network across the region stands opposed to both proposed bylaw and the broader incinerator plan.

Among other things, the Chamber network has voiced concern with the incinerator project’s business plan, which is premised on securing funding from two tiers of government plus achieving BC Hydro preferential rates for electricity produced.

The BC Chamber and its partner chambers are calling on Metro Vancouver to pursue a more thorough examination of private-sector solutions to its waste management needs, with a focus on its own stated goal which is to maximize recycling and material recovery.

“Thus far, all viable options have not been on the table,” Winter said. “And we’re convinced that Metro Vancouver region can, and must, do better.”

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