Unattended waste transfer stations at Texas Point and McRae Creek Road at Christina Lake on the East Lake Road right-of-way will close by May 1.
Alan Stanley, Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) director of environmental services, made the announcement last Thursday at an Area C town hall meeting and cited a number of concerns for nine such transfer stations across the RDKB, including the fact that some were illegal.
“We started doing our due diligence and looking into these transfer stations and what we found is, to everyone’s amazement, is that we actually had no permits to be on any of these nine unattended transfer stations. They were all on Crown rights-of-way and to occupy a Crown right-of-way for any purpose you have to have a permit for works within a right-of-way,” explained Stanley. “We found that we had no legal permission to be on any of these.”
He said that the RDKB looked into keeping the stations where they were but there were a lot of obstacles in terms of obtaining legal permission to keep the unattended sites.
Stanley said that generally there is permitting for pipes and sewers within a right-of-way, not an unattended garbage bin area and added that it was also hard to maintain the stations as items such as microwaves and tires were being left at the sites.
“We went through every one of our sites and found just absolute nightmares in terms of public and staff health and safety. We found things like propane tanks thrown into the bottom of the bin with car batteries thrown on top of them and this was ongoing and these sites were cleaned up on average two, sometimes three times a week,’ Stanley explained. “It was just this ongoing maintenance issue.”
There are new regulations to build transfer stations, such as fencing and buffer zones, things Stanley said couldn’t be done in the Crown rights-of-way.
“Our options were extremely limited in terms of what to do with these things,” said Stanley, adding that the RDKB board has struck a policy that creates a preference for staffed facilities with every person within the district being within a 30-minute drive of a staffed facility.
“We applied that to the existing system and it turns out that there are a number of, what we would call, extraneous transfer stations that are closer than 30-minute drives to the nearest staffed facility – both Texas Creek and McRae Creek are inside 30-minute drives to the Christina Lake transfer station,” he said.
Grace McGregor, RDKB Area C director, said that the two stations were put there for boat access users but in actuality was being used by others as well.
“What it boils down to is that everyone else in the area was paying to either take their garbage or have it picked up. The boat access people were supplied with a bin, which was being used by numerous other people, not just the boat access people,” McGregor said.
In addition to the two at Christina Lake, transfer stations at Bridesville, Westbridge and Jewel Lake will be closed as well.
Stanley said that a report will be forwarded to the RDKB environmental services committee tomorrow, recommending approval of communications plan to notify affected residents of the May 1 closure.