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Sask. RM rejects compost facility that would have processed Regina's organic waste

EverGen, the company contracted by the City of Regina to run its organic waste program, had applied to build a processing facility just outside of Pilot Butte, a town about 15 kilometres east of Regina. (Warren Kay/CBC - image credit)
EverGen, the company contracted by the City of Regina to run its organic waste program, had applied to build a processing facility just outside of Pilot Butte, a town about 15 kilometres east of Regina. (Warren Kay/CBC - image credit)

The RM of Edenwold has denied permission for a new composting facility that would process waste from the City of Regina's green bin program.

EverGen, the company contracted by Regina to run the program, had applied to build the facility just outside of Pilot Butte, a town about 15 kilometres east of Regina.

But at a meeting on Monday night, the RM council unanimously voted to reject the proposal. The decision followed a town hall meeting in August that saw residents raise strong objections.

"Council found that the proposed location for the compost facility is in close proximity to domestic water wells and there is a lack of support/consent for the facility from the property owners near the proposed location," Al Trainor, the RM's reeve, said in a news release.

That means EverGen will have to find a new location for the commercial composting facility. Currently, it is operating a temporary processing facility at the City of Regina landfill.

Kurtis Doney, Regina's executive director of city operations, said the city respects the RM council's decision. He said the city will work with EverGen to find a different location for a permanent facility, and so far, the temporary location is able to process the waste.

"They have been looking at different locations in case this permit was denied, and so they'll continue to look at locations and we'll work with them to see what is the best location for their operations, but currently there's no solid replacement as of right now," he told reporters at city hall on Tuesday.

"With any project, and particularly with a big project like this, we always have contingency plans in place because things don't always go as planned."

LISTEN | (From August) Mayor of Pilot Butte wants proposed compost facility moved from town's outskirts:

The City of Saskatoon is facing a similar issue with its green bin program. In April, the RM of Corman Park denied Green Prairie Environmental a permit to operate a composting facility south of Saskatoon.

Saskatoon activated its contingency plan, which included a short-term contract with Loraas to take the compost at a facility north of the city. That contract has been renewed for a period of up to two years, and a report on long-term processing options is expected to be brought to council early next year, according to a city spokesperson.

Joanne Fedyk is the executive director of the Saskatchewan Waste Reduction Council, a non-governmental organization dedicated to reducing waste. She said it's disappointing to hear about compost facilities being rejected.

"There is a very strong NIMBY syndrome out there — not in my backyard. Nobody wants a facility in their backyard … mostly because they don't know what it's going to be like," she said.

Fedyk said there are a lot of technologies available that can make composting sites "environmentally benign" and manage issues like odours.

"Certainly we can all do a better job of educating about the benefits of composting and organic waste diversion. I think there's a lot of room for improvement in that area."