With the closure of the Sooke Disposal drop-off site on Sept. 30, the company is currently looking for short-term alternatives.
According to Doug Wittich, environmental consultant and Sooke Disposal spokesman, the company has recently sent in an application to council to use the industrially zoned property at the corner of Sooke Road and Idlemore Road as a temporary transfer station.
The area measures approximately three quarters of a hectare, which Wittich said can adequately fulfill the needs of local residents in terms of garbage and recycling.
But the site will not be able to satisfy construction companies that may be disposing of items like wood waste and concrete.
“The owners of the land have no problem, they’re just not going to let anybody go on that land if the district finds it to be illegal,” Wittich said.
According to Wittich, one of the problems Sooke Disposal faces is the lack of properly zoned land for a drop-off site in Sooke.
“It may be the act that there is no land in Sooke currently slated to allow a transfer station,” Wittich explained, adding that includes the Butler’s Brothers property where SDL recently vacated.
Sooke has not set apart land or had never thought about acknowledging M2, M3 or M1 commercial designation, Wittich said.
“That is a big issue and that’s one that’s going to be looked at fairly quick,” he added.
According to Mayor Wendal Milne, it does appear that Sooke has not zoned any land as M3 heavy industrial for a transfer station.
“We have a concern that garbage could be strewn about, (and) what we’re going to do is work with any of the private companies to get a place, but it’s got to be the right place,” Milne said.
“I want people to understand that we take this seriously and we are looking at avenues, but we want to make sure that it’s done right and from a private enterprise perspective.”
As for the long-term, SDL is currently eyeing a piece of property up Sooke River Road, measuring about three acres, and zoned in the Agricultural Land Reserve.
“We believe we have to own the property so they don’t have to deal with those tenuous leases,” Wittich said.
Residents have expressed concern about a transfer site being moved in on the ALR, but Wittich said it is currently just an option, as further research still needs to be done. SDL has put the site on hold with a deposit.
SDL also still needs support from the District of Sooke, and approval from the provincial government to rezone the land.
“I’m not optimistic they would do it and I’m not personally convinced this is a right place for this,” Milne said of rezoning ALR land.
According to Travis Butler, part owner of the Butler Brothers, Sooke Disposal was given six month’s notice to vacate the land due to an ongoing study of the riparian land.
“There’s definitely no issue of contaminants that were of concern to us. It’s simply the riparian issues that we’re looking to adhere to on our property,” he said.
Butler Brothers is conducting a study on the riparian land the company resides on, and the protection on nearby water courses.
“We’ve embarked on a study looking at the Alderbook creek channel and a potential relocation of the current stream channel, and an enhancement back to fish-bearing (water),” he said.
“The creek is directly adjacent to the property that they are currently renting from us and the relocation would put the channel going through that portion of property.
“We’re trying to be good stewards of the lands here and it’s unfortunate that we haven’t been able to accommodate Sooke Disposal in the meantime.”