Zero waste plan eyed for Sooke

Sooke could become a leader in zero waste if the community looks at garbage as an untapped resource

Sooke could become a leader in zero waste if the community looks at garbage as an untapped resource, district councillors heard last week.

At a meeting of committee of the whole, Zero Waste Sooke presented three proposals the district could undertake in the short and mid-term in association with other levels of governments, residents, community groups and business.

Among them:

• Resource Recovery Centre: The district take a lead in exploring a public-private partnership that will ensure Sooke residents have access to a full-service resource recovery centre that could also include a compost facility, yard-waste depot and related cottage industries.

• Plastic Reduction: The district legislate a ban on single-use plastic checkout bags at retail outlets as part of a comprehensive campaign to reduce plastic waste.

• Drinking Fountains: The district install drinking fountains in strategic locations around Sooke.

The proposals were created following a symposium held by Zero Waste Sooke, a working group affiliated with Transition Sooke, last spring.

“We see garbage as an untapped resource and not as something that goes away,” said Wendy O’Connor, a spokesperson for Zero Waste Sooke.

“It would (the resource recovery centre) would create jobs, and be a point of pride for Sooke that serves as a useful purpose and provides community spirit.”

The model isn’t a new one. Gibsons and Powell River both have successful zero waste programs.

Zero Waste Sooke says for the program to get off the ground would require “vision and leadership,” support from municipal staff and council, and community involvement.

Councillors seemed intrigued with the ideas.

“This is the embryo of something very, very positive,” said Coun. Kevin Pearson, cautioning that other levels of government should also be involved.

Added Mayor Maja Tait: “There’s a lot to think about, and I really appreciate the report.”