Burnaby City Council is directing staff to continue work on converting parkland into an organic waste facility

The city says the plant would be capable of processing 130,000 tons of organic waste per year.  (Google Maps - photo credit)

The city says the plant would be capable of processing 130,000 tons of organic waste per year. (Google Maps – photo credit)

The City of Burnaby is one step closer to building a Green Recycling and Organic Waste (GROW) facility after City Council voted unanimously to direct staff to continue working on the design, costs and repurposing of the project.

The city currently collects all green waste, such as leftover food and yard waste, and ships it to a private facility in Delta for processing.

It’s a contract that costs the city $3.6 million annually.

A GROW facility would keep processing in-house, a solution the city council says will create jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately save taxpayers money.

Erik Schmidt, director of public works, waste and recycling for the City of Burnaby, says the price of the city’s contract with the Delta company doubled in 2019, leading city workers to consider alternatives pull.

“We decided it would be a good time and opportunity for us to see if we could take over a facility or do something in Burnaby,” Schmidt said.

“A Burnaby Solution.”

Produce renewable natural gas

The project is expected to cost $180 million.

According to Schmidt, part of the next phase of planning will include developing partnerships with other municipalities to reduce the city’s costs while also repaying the initial investment.

Once built, the facility will be able to process up to 150,000 tons of organic waste annually, including 30,000 tons from the city and the rest through partnerships and contracts.

It would also be able to produce renewable natural gas by processing organic waste.

Schmidt says GROW would produce enough natural gas to heat 5,000 homes a year.

The city says it will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the transport of organic waste collected from households.

pave paradise

The grow facility has not yet received final approval.

In addition to the ongoing planning for the green waste facility, the City Council intends to hold public consultations on the use of public parking space in Fraser Foreshore Park in South Burnaby for the new facility.

The city forecasts that the 8.5-acre facility will cover about 12 percent of the park.

“We’re talking non-dedicated parkland here…it’s not ideal,” says Schmidt, adding that it was the only appropriate place in town for the facility.

“What we tried to do is position it as far away from the riverbank in the parkland and the areas in the park that are the least destructive. That is our goal.”

City of Burnaby

City of Burnaby

But will it stink?

According to Schmidt, odor is always a big problem at processing plants, but the GROW project is being designed to be completely closed.

He says it will feature top-of-the-line odor management systems and predicts odor won’t be an issue.

Overall, the city hopes the facility will be operational by 2026.

“But that’s the last step,” said Schmidt.

“There are many steps to get there.”


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