Landfill fees rise

The rise in costs are necessary for the RDKB to maintain the solid waste management services by increasing user fees instead of taxes.

Residents may have noticed an increase for tipping fees at the landfill recently.

The rise in costs, which went into effect on May 1, are necessary for the RDKB to maintain the solid waste management services by increasing user fees instead of taxes.

Regional solid waste management is a region-wide service funded by a combination of user fees and taxes, with the majority of revenue coming from user fees.

“It’s designed to recognize the value of curb-side collection service,” said Tim Dueck, solid waste program coordinator. “The charge for a bag of garbage in the curbside service is $3. If people in Area D or Area C use the curbside service it’s a dollar cheaper than bringing it to the landfill. Ultimately, the landfill is an industrial site. Certainly the public is welcome out there but we discourage people from driving out to the landfill.”

The most recent tax increase for solid waste management services was in 2006. There will be no tax increase for 2015. The cost for mixed refuse has increased $15/tonne to $110/tonne.

Dueck said that the services the RDKB provides cost money and the board must determine how to pay for those services.

“Our board of directors has made a pretty clear statement over the years that we are shifting the revenue source from taxpayers to garbage users,” he said. “So people who produce garbage will pay more. We recognize that there is an inherent value to having a landfill. There is some tax support for that. Our revenue split at this point is pretty close to 70/30 with 70 per cent being tipping fees and 30 per cent being property taxes. We think that’s fair.”

Dueck said another big cost the RDKB has had to endure came thanks to accounting changes in B.C.’s landfill liability regulations.

“We used to set aside a contingency fund or a landfill closure reserve,” he said. “We estimated the life of the landfill and how much life was left…the auditors said that wasn’t going to cut it. What you have to do is calculate when the landfill started, when it will end…it’s a huge increase in the money we’re putting away to look after the place when its closed. Again, that cost has to be paid for by users today.”

Dueck said the RDKB has heard some grumbling from residents about the increase in tipping fees.

“Anytime you increase fees people raise eyebrows,” he said. “It’s no doubt that no one wants to pay fees. But it’s our board’s strong position that there has to be a value attached to an activity. If we want to reduce garbage and increase diversion you have to put a value on that activity. If people think it’s free and you say people should recycle they’re not going to do it because garbage is free; it has no value. If we all recognize that it’s not some God-given right to dispose of garbage in the landfill then people will look at diversion opportunities.”

The tipping fees, effective May 1, 2015, for commercial and domestic refuse are: Mixed refuse – $110 per tonne, with a minimum $10 for under 101 kg – anything less than a tonne (101kg to 999kg) is prorated; per bag – $4; tar and gravel roofing, asphalt shingles – $60 per tonne; and construction/demolition/land clearing waste – $175 per tonne.

For a full list of tipping fees, visit RDKB.com.