Council delays approval of compost system

City awaits decision regarding Solid Waste Roadmap before moving forward

  • May. 16, 2013 2:00 p.m.

Lacombe City council has decided to wait.

During a regular council meeting on May 13, council voted to delay going ahead with the portion of the Solid Waste Roadmap regarding the purchase of an in-vessel compost system.

The decision came after administration recommended the City purchase a compost system to deal with stockpiles of organic waste that have been building up at the current compost site.

Director of Infrastructure Matthew Goudy, who presented the report, said that the current compost site was chosen as a temporary site and will not be able to accommodate further accumulation of grass clippings and other organic waste for much longer.

Goudy also said that the City’s current static pile method of composting has not proven very effective.

Furthermore, the current method produces unwanted leachates, has an odor and requires a large land space to operate.

Because of the growing need for more space, administration recommended that although council had previously voted to delay the Solid Waste Roadmap until more feedback could be garnered from the public, council should go ahead with this portion of the Roadmap and purchase the recommended HotRot compost system to deal with the large stockpiles of organic waste and begin turning it into useable compost.

While most City councillors agreed that the recommended HotRot model was the direction Lacombe wanted to go in with its compost program, some of them expressed concern about making such a crucial decision before a final say had been made about the rest of the Solid Waste Roadmap.

“We made a commitment to the public to engage in some public consultation for the Solid Waste Roadmap,” said Councillor Grant Creasey. “I don’t know how we can pick and choose portions of it.”

Councillor Reuben Konnick said that he felt the purchase of a new compost system was something that definitely needed to be done, but should be shelved along with the rest of the Solid Waste Roadmap until the City can receive more feedback from the community.

He also said that there are some unanswered questions surrounding the HotRot system and that more research needs to be done.

Councillor Ian Foster disagreed.

“We’re in a position where we need to do this sooner rather than later,” said Foster. He added that he felt if something was not done soon, compostable materials will begin turning up in landfills as general waste.

He also expressed his confusion as to why council would delay this decision when most of them were in favour of purchasing a HotRot system.

“Most of us agree this is the machine we want, I’m not sure why we would delay,” said Foster.

Councillor Wayne Rempel also felt there was no need to delay the decision.

He said the complaints he had heard from citizens were regarding rollout bins, not the City’s approach to composting.

“Up until now nobody cared about this, they cared about the bins,” said Rempel.

Councillor Outi Kite said that regardless of where the majority of citizen complaints lay, the purpose of council revisiting the Solid Waste Roadmap was to inform the public about all, not some, components of the Roadmap and therefore the decision should wait until the fall when the public engagement strategies will be completed.

Several councillors also felt that it was pointless to make a decision at this point on the HotRot composter as, if purchased, the unit still would not be operational until the fall and compost stockpiling would still need to continue in the meantime.

This was of special concern to some members of council as the unit would not operate in temperature below -15C, meaning it would not be able to produce useable compost for most of the winter.

Creasey agreed with Konnick that more research needed to be done on the HotRot system, including a comparison of other compost systems as well.

He said that he had spoken with the operators of a HotRot system in Halifax, currently the only one in Canada and was told that the operation of the system is quite labour intensive, requiring workers to operate it seven days a week, although not necessarily 24 hours a day for every day of the week.

Goudy said that was contrary to what he had been told by the manufacturers of the product but did admit that the proposed compost system did not come without any risk.

As new technology (Lacombe would be home to only the second HotRot model in question were the City to purchase one), there are always risks involved, he said.

“It has never been administration’s opinion that this is going to be a risk-free venture,” Goudy said.

Just Posted

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Member Terry Parsons’ custom built track vehicle.
Forestburg’s Area 53 Racetrack gears up for action-packed season

Site will also host a portion of the ‘Miles of Mayhem’ event in July

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported five additional deaths Wednesday due to COVID-19. (File photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer at 169 active cases of COVID-19

Province set to move into Stage 2 of reopening Thursday

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Airport ground crew offload a plane carrying just under 300,000 doses of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine which is developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies at Pearson International Airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, April 28, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
1st batch of Johnson & Johnson vaccines won’t be released in Canada over quality concerns

The vaccines were quarantined in April before they were distributed to provinces

Grade 12 students at Wetaskiwin Composite High School took place in the annual water fight off school property on June 11, 2021. Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer.
Graduating students in Wetaskiwin throw water fight after being told it could result in suspension

Students were told their participation could result in them being barred from graduation ceremonies.

The arrest south of Winnipeg occurred before Bernier was to arrive at a protest in the city. (Twitter/Maxime Bernier)
Maxime Bernier arrested following anti-rules rallies in Manitoba: RCMP

He’s been charged with exceeding public gathering limits and violating Manitoba’s requirement to self-isolate

Most Read