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Metro Vancouver 'flooded' with waste-to-energy proposals

With no place left for Metro Vancouver's garbage to go, and support for capturing energy from landfill waste evident in this week's Throne Speech, it appears that waste-to-energy facilities will be part of the region’s waste management plan.

That has sparked a lot of interest from waste-to-energy proponents.

Metro Vancouver's waste management committee chair Marvin Hunt told The Tyee he has been inundated with calls and emails from various companies.

"I've been flooded," said Hunt, who estimates he has received 45 to 50 proposals for waste-to-energy projects over the past year, with more coming all the time. "I had one call this morning at nine-fifteen asking when they can come and talk about their proposal."

"There's a lot of companies that hear people talking about it and they're really not interested in it at all. We're very serious about looking at the possibilities of this."

Metro Vancouver staff is currently preparing a draft solid waste management plan, which will be presented to the board of directors mid-September, Hunt said. Even if the board approves waste-to-energy facilities to deal with the region's garbage, it needs provincial approval before exploring specific technologies. Hunt stressed that this process will not begin until next year.

Covanta Energy is one of the interested parties. The New Jersey-based company already has stakes in British Columbia and could begin construction on a waste-to-energy facility on Vancouver Island by the end of this year.

An organization called Zero Waste Vancouver and Abbotsford councilor Patricia Ross have been vocal opponents of waste-to-energy, period. Ross told The Tyee she is concerned that any technology will inevitably contribute to poor air quality, which is already a big concern in her community.

"The people living in the Fraser Valley, we live it, we breath it, it's our biggest issue," Ross said. "We want to reduce what we already have."

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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