Council’s climate change action committee wants a feasibility study on a possible compost facility.

Sooke mulls compost facility options

Sooke council’s climate change action committee wants a feasibility study on a possible compost facility.

Sooke council is eyeing a plan to develop a commercial compost facility that will process a large variety and mix of organic material, including biosolids from its wastewater treatment plant, yard and garden wastes.

But first it wants to know how much a feasibility study would cost.

Council’s climate change action committee asked council for a feasibility study and allocate funding in the 2017 budget.

“Our committee, rather than seeing this waste shipped elsewhere, we’d like to see it processed locally and turned into class A, made-in-Sooke compost,” committee chair Jeff Bateman recently told council. “It’s a common sense approach to dealing with our waste here and putting it to good use.”

Kitchen scraps from Sooke homes are now shipped to either Cobble Hill or Richmond for processing, through a Capital Regional District contract. It cost Sooke more than $150,000 a year to ship wastewater biosolids to the Hartland Landfill in Saanich.

“Compost can be utilized by various farms and gardens and public lands. We want to look at all the possibilities,” Bateman said.

As of 2014, there were 162 centralized compost facilities across Canada operated privately, publicly or a combination of the two.

The region doesn’t have a local facility to handle kitchen waste and must send it elsewhere, which could be an entrepreneurial opportunity for Sooke, Bateman said.

It’s not a scenario that has been ignored by business.

Net Zero Waste, a compost waste company based in Abbotsford, has made two presentations to council proposing to build a multi-million-dollar facility in the Sooke region.

Last September, company director Mateo Ocejo said the company was hoping to begin talks with the T’Sou-ke First Nation.

Coun. Rick Kasper, Sooke’s representative on the CRD, said the regional district is also looking at local recycling options and has plenty of information available.

The CRD has embarked on a pilot project with the Peninsula wastewater system and is examining plans on resource recovery for the new sewage system planned for the core area of Greater Victoria.

He encouraged the committee to get more public comment and for Sooke municipal staff to talk with the CRD.

And he urged Sooke residents to recycle.

“There’s no magic to it. It just takes a little energy for people to do it at home … then it doesn’t need to be trucked to somewhere else in Sooke or the Harland Landill.”

Coun. Ebony Logins liked the idea of a compost facility.

“Our committee was really excited about this and it does seem like something that other communities are doing really successfully making a money on,” she said.