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Squamish wants Whistler’s garbage for regional landfill

Squamish council approves regional landfill in principle and looks to Whistler for support



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Squamish can operate a regional landfill more efficiently, said Sperling, because of the economies of scale.

"The operating costs of the landfill could basically be shared by two communities and so the one compactor, that you have to have no matter what, would basically be shared by both communities, so you can cut your operating costs almost in half," he said.

"That’s the real benefit of attracting Whistler."

But the economics work both ways.

Whistler could pay $128 per tonne if it trucks its waste to Cache Creek in the Interior. Going to Squamish could represent a savings of more than $10 per tonne. That’s basically the difference in the cost of trucking the garbage, explained Sperling.

Whistler currently pays $120 per tonne at its own landfill to subsidize recycling programs.

Sperling cautioned Squamish against making a profit off of Whistler’s garbage.

"Whistler will have extra costs already," said Sperling.

"They have to build their transfer station and man it and operate all that. In addition to that they have to pay several million dollars again for capping their landfill, which is a big capital cost, and then the trucking. So they’re already getting hit with a lot of extras. And so I would really encourage Squamish, and I tried to do that in my presentation, not to look at… additional revenue from Whistler for receiving the waste.

"…They shouldn’t try and make extra profit on the fact that the waste would go to the regional landfill because if you do that then you’re going to drive Whistler’s costs up to a point where it’ll become attractive for them to go to Cache Creek."

Originally Whistler had been interested in trucking its waste to the Interior because the dry climate was more suitable for landfills, as opposed to the wet climate in the Sea to Sky corridor.

Sperling agrees that the general rule of thumb is it’s better to put garbage in a dry area.

But if the landfill has a good leachate collection system, then wet climates can be as good as dry.

The other element he said is cost. Squamish would pay more than double to truck its garbage elsewhere compared to the regional landfill option.

"Even though I feel that it would probably be somewhat better for the environment to put the waste where it’s dry, I think we could do a whole lot of other better things for the environment with the money and just do a good job on the leachate management," said Sperling.

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