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solid waste

Meeting the regional district’s solid waste management plan is going to cost Whistler taxpayers more, starting Jan. 1. Commercial tipping rates at the municipal landfill will go from $12 per cubic metre to $16 per cubic metre Jan. 1, the solid waste user fee paid by single family and duplex home owners will go from $79 to $105 annually and a parcel tax will be established to collect $500,000 per year for the next four years to finance the closure of the municipal landfill. The measures are part of Whistler’s commitment to reducing the regional district’s solid waste by 50 per cent by the year 2000. The province has told every regional district in the province to do the same. Whistler has been working with other municipalities in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District on a plan to meet the 50 per cent reduction. Closure of landfills in the Sea to Sky corridor is one part of the plan. Most of the material that has gone into landfills will be shipped to a more environmentally-stable landfill in eastern Washington, starting in 1997 or 1998. Other parts of the solid waste management plan include expanding recycling programs, a composting facility in the Whistler area and a high-tech wood waste incinerator in Squamish. Details of how the composting and incinerator facilities will be financed and when they come on line have yet to be determined. The more immediate impacts for Whistler have to do with the tipping fees, compactors and closure of the landfill, which is scheduled for 1997 or 1998. The parcel tax, which will be initiated Jan. 1, is designed to raise $2 million over four years to cover the cost of closing the landfill. The parcel tax will be applied using the same classifications as used for sewer fees, but at about one-third the sewer rates. John Nelson, director of Public Works, told council that would amount to about $45 per year for a single family home. A plastic membrane is currently being installed to stop landfill materials from leaching into the Cheakamus River. The leachate collection system will be finished next year. Homeowners who live in an area that doesn’t have garbage pick up — generally all single family and duplex homes — will see an increase in the solid waste user fee on their tax assessments next year, going from $79 to $105. Condos and townhouses generally have a communal garbage facility and pay a commercial disposal company to look after it. The increase in commercial tipping fees, from $12 to $16 per cubic metre, will be passed along by the commercial operator to the condo owners. A new compactor site program will also be established next year with the objective of providing an attendant to collect tipping fees, thereby reducing or eliminating the residential user fee during 1998. The compactor sites will be enlarged and fenced in.