By Alison Taylor
Squamish has given Carney’s Organic Recycling some breathing room to get its odour issues under control.
At its April 4 meeting, Squamish council agreed to allow the company three more months to get rid of the smells wafting from its composting operations in the business park.
“By all accounts they have made improvements and it is getting better and Mr. Carney feels that they can make it even better,” explained Squamish Mayor Ian Sutherland this week.
“It is an important facility to the community, to the corridor,
everyone wants to give it every chance to be successful. And this seemed to be
a compromise that seemed to work well for all concerned.”
If the problem isn’t fixed within three months, council decided the business would then be given one year to relocate.
The three-month extension was good news for Owen Carney who was facing the possibility of losing his business licence after council cracked down on the operations in February due to numerous complaints about the smell in the business park.
“The odour is very minimal, if any, at the moment but we’re going to spend some money now to do it properly,” said Carney.
“The council has done all they could to give us the room and make it work.”
For several weeks now Carney’s has been taking the compost directly to the curing stage offsite, instead of loading it in the yard. That has made a world of difference but it’s an interim measure.
“Now that we’ve got the three-month grace (period) we’re going to do a bigger, better job,” said Carney.
He plans to spend roughly $100,000, on top of the $1 million he has already spent to control the smell at the plant, and is confident this could fix the problem for good.
Among his plans for improvements is raising the biofilter, one of the main components of the composting system, several feet off the ground. That should prevent water from getting to the bottom, as it did last winter, which was one of the main culprits of the smell.
The facility, which opened in May 2004, takes organic waste from the Sea to Sky corridor, including food, biosolids and wood waste. Sixty tons of material goes through the operations every day.
It has become a key component of the corridor’s goals to reduce its waste.
The Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games has been using Carney’s to divert some of its land clearing waste.
Ninety-nine per cent of the vegetation clearing debris from the Whistler Sliding Centre on Blackcomb Mountain went to the composting facility in the summer of 2005, the first season of Olympic construction. They are expecting to make additional use of the facility in the years to come as preparations for the Olympics ramps up.
VANOC’s vice president of sustainability, Linda Coady, wrote to the Squamish mayor and council in March signaling VANOC’s support of the Carney’s facility.
“VANOC full respects the role and jurisdiction of local government on this issue,” wrote Coady. “We wanted you to be aware of the Olympic context around our waste management target and our current and prospective use of the Carney’s Organic Recycling/Composting Facility. It is our hope that the District will continue to work with Carney’s and affected stakeholders to find a mutually agreeable solution.”
Sutherland, however, said he didn’t give much weight to VANOC’s letter.
“It’s a local issue, it’s a corridor issue and I don’t believe
that was an appropriate place for VANOC to get involved,” he said.
“Clearly everyone understands the benefit of the facility, that’s never been an issue.”