FVRD officials were celebrating the decision recently by B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak to reject Bylaw 280. It would have forced trash haulers in Metro Vancouver to stay within the Vancouver region and use only Metro facilities.

Celebrating a win for Fraser Valley airshed

“We sincerely hope that Metro Vancouver will now consider abandoning its plans to build a garbage incinerator," said the FVRD chair

It’s a decision that Fraser Valley politicians say could be the proverbial nail in the coffin of Metro Vancouver’s dream of building a garbage-burning incinerator.

FVRD Chair Sharon Gaetz lauded the decision recently by B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak to reject Bylaw 280, which would have forced trash haulers in Metro Vancouver to stay within the Vancouver region and use only Metro facilities.

“It’s the best news I have heard in a long time,” Gaetz said.

The negative impacts Bylaw 280 would have had on B.C. business, the environment, and the economy were cited in Polak’s decision.

They were especially pleased to note that Minister Polak acknowledged Bylaw 280 “was not in the public’s interest,” said Gaetz.

FVRD has been fighting the WTE plan for seven years, after considerable research and weighing of potential impacts to the vulnerable Fraser Valley airshed.

“We sincerely hope that Metro Vancouver will now consider abandoning its plans to build a garbage incinerator and move toward more effective, less costly alternatives.”

When FVRD chair Gaetz heard about the decision, she reacted quickly on social media, posting ebulliently: “This is the best news I have heard in a very long time.

“Hear that thud? It’s a nail in the coffin of Metro’s plan to burn recyclables. Happy, happy day!”

It’s not about ego, she noted, it’s about protecting the region’s air shed.

As part of the decision, Polak appointed Marvin Hunt, MLA for Surrey-Panorama to conduct a review of Metro Vancouver’s solid waste  plan to find the most appropriate way to achieve waste diversion.

“We would be pleased to work with Metro Vancouver and Mr. Hunt to find a solution that will work across both regions,” said Gaetz.

Mixed materials recovery is the way to go, she said.

FVRD vice chair Patty Ross said it was call for a “big celebration,” and thanked the minister “on her balanced decision” to deny Metro Vancouver’s waste flow control Bill 280.

“Without this bill, they can’t guarantee enough garbage to feed the incinerator, nor can they raise tipping fees enough to pay for it,” wrote Ross on social media. “I know it’s not over yet, but I’ve been fighting these polluting garbage burners for 8 years (longer than SE2) and it’s been a frustrating and time consuming battle, so I’m celebrating this big win.”

jfeinberg@theprogress.com

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