Peace River Regional District directors have given permission to the One Island Lake Homeowners Association to create an organic waste disposal site. The site would be utilized exclusively by the group to dispose of trees, branches, leaves, and debris from yard cleanup.
PRRD director and Dawson Creek Mayor Dale Bumstead excused himself from the discussion at the board’s Nov. 18 meeting, as he penned the Oct. 21 letter requesting for a licence of occupation for the site as a member.
Electoral Area D Director Leonard Hiebert says he’s had conversations with members of the association, noting the group has approached Louisiana Pacific, who would handle debris disposal through controlled burns.
“That’s how it’s going to be controlled. They don’t have a place to put it when they clean out their yards, and so this is something that will be controlled, it can then be put in one specific spot, it can be monitored that way. Whereas before it can be thrown anywhere or taken away from where it currently is," he said adding it would take fuel away from any potential fire situation, and has the benefit of being contained in one location.
PRRD chair Brad Sperling says approving the site is not really in the best interests of the PRRD, citing liability as the chief concern.
“I have some concerns over the liability aspect to the regional district, because we are ultimately if there’s a fire or waste was dumped there and not cleaned up,” said Sperling. “It says the association will do the monitoring and that, but for whatever reason if it wasn’t monitored or something was to go wrong, that liability falls to the regional district.”
He added it doesn’t matter whether a forest fire, a regular fire, or carcasses dumped at the site, the move sets precedence for approving more sites.
“We do this one, how many other ones are we going to start doing? We have little communities and associations everywhere. I understand, but it’s a slippery slope where I can see."
Electoral Area E Director Dan Rose says the One Island Lake community has already been recognized as a FireSmart neighbourhood, referring to a FireSmart Canada approval letter attached to the association’s request.
“It’s a program that we pushed, and they’ve taken advantage of it. A big part of that program is cleaning up lots and having a place to put that stuff, and it seems a little but odd that we wouldn’t support a place to put that stuff,” said Rose. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to get everybody to do. And they’ve demonstrated that it can work and they’ve been recognized for it, so I think we want to support it.”
Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser says the request is only the first step, with an agreement to be put in place with the regional district.
“To me, I think our staff will do a good job of pulling together an agreement with those folks that they’ll look after it properly, so I’m in favour,” he said.
Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News