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Metro board moves ahead with garbage-burning scheme

Some of Metro Vancouver's garbage trucks may soon be rerouted from landfills to a new trash-burning facility, following a decision made by Metro Vancouver's Board of Directors Friday afternoon.

The board voted 63-49 in favour of exploring possibilities for new waste-to-energy plants to be built either in or outside the Lower Mainland.

"This has been a long, complex, and sometimes fractious process but I am confident that we have made the right decision," said Metro Vancouver Board Chair Lois Jackson in a press release.

The vote comes after the region's Solid Waste Committee's recommendation July 21 that more waste-to-energy facilities — like an incinerator — be built to deal the region's mounting garbage problem.

Metro Vancouver currently ships 280,000 tonnes of garbage to its only waste-to-energy plant in Burnaby. The new management plan calls for a new $470 million incinerator that would burn up to 500,000 tonnes of the region's garbage and produce electricity.

Vancouver and Fraser Valley councillors oppose the plan because of environmental and air quality concerns.

"If an in-region incinerator is ultimately approved, it doesn’t solve the garbage problem at home," Fraser Valley Regional District chair Patricia Ross said in a media release. "It exports the problem, in the form of air pollution, to the Fraser Valley."

Other municipal councillors — including Delta Mayor Lois Jackson and City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto — support waste-to-energy facilities either in or outside the region as a way to divert garbage from landfills.

The plan now moves to Environment Minister Barry Penner for consideration.

Niamh Scallan is completing a practicum at The Tyee

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