Feature letter: Responding to editorial on WTS

Owner of Sooke waste transfer station defends his operation

I was saddened to read your editorial condemning my transfer station on Idlemore Road. Your statement, “the point is, this business is operating illegally under our bylaws without having gone through the proper process,” has unfairly hurt my reputation which I hope you will allow me to defend.

After Sooke Disposal shut down their transfer station, I met with Alpine Recycling with the hope of teaming up and providing Sooke with an open, clean, accessible transfer station to handle all of the area’s recyclables. We now have two employees, a terrific facility and are successfully handling and transferring via Alpine everything and anything that Sooke residents bring. In addition to batteries, steel, glass, paint and plastic, we found it necessary to transfer garbage. In anticipation of a food scrap ban at Hartland Landfill this coming January, we were planning to transfer even garbage (food scraps) in response to public demands.

There has not been an issue, to my knowledge, in regards to noise or odor. The issue seems to be around zoning and process. We are zoned M2 which allows for a recycling depot but not a garbage dump. It is suggested that we rezone to M3 which would give us a permitted use of “Waste management and recycling.” Neither M2 or M3 specifically allows a transfer station.

I was born and raised in Sooke and started my sawmill on Idlemore approximately 30 years ago, most likely before the District of Sooke zoning. My property has always been M2 zoned even though M2 zoning does not allow a sawmill. I have been too busy working to study my zoning and you can imagine my surprise when I found that I should have been zoned M3 all along and the CRD and District of Sooke made the initial mistake years ago.

The mayor and council have sent this issue to public hearing, which I will not be attending. I have no wish to break the law or be condemned in the newspaper or public. I am of the belief that my transfer station is covered under my zoning and my property is not a garbage dump as prohibited in the zoning. The process, which you have stated is non-existent, is in fact happening.

I simply want to offer a necessary service to my Sooke community, fill a need, employ a few people and maybe one day make a dollar profit from this fledgling enterprise. Thank you for allowing me to respond to your editorial.

Dale Arden

Sooke