The Bailey Landfill has been getting busier and busier on Saturdays.
With Chilliwack’s population growing, as well as organics and asbestos expected to be processed in the near future, vehicles lining up at the landfill will only increase.
In order to tackle the high volume of traffic, Chilliwack council is considering opening the landfill on Sundays, from noon to 5 p.m. A vote is expected at the March 15 council meeting.
“Saturdays are particularly busy, with as many as 600 customers visiting the site,” according to the staff report produced for council. “Introducing Sunday hours of operation will help reduce congestion on Saturdays.”
The landfill site saw a record of 612 customers coming through the gates on one particular day in 2015.
Saturdays have been extra busy of late, with wait times of up to 20 minutes, and traffic queues all the way down the street.
“Many residents are unable to self-haul material to the landfill during weekdays and are subject to long queues on Saturdays,” according to the report.
Traffic fluctuates seasonally, with spring, summer and fall, being busier than winter.
Because of high volumes of traffic at the landfill, there is demand for extended operating hours on weekends, like adding an 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday shift, according to staff. Current hours of operation at the Bailey landfill are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.
“April is typically very busy, when the City’s Earth Month community and residential cleanups occur and the landfill accepts scrap metal for recycling free of charge.
With population growth rates expected for Chilliwack, landfill visits “will continue to rise,” added the staff report.
“The transfer station project planned for later this year will include increasing scale capacity, which will help alleviate some of the inbound and outbound traffic queues. Some improvements are also planned for the residential waste drop-off area, but the congestion will not be fully resolved on Saturdays.”
City of Chilliwack has been working to prevent illegal dumping within its boundaries, with partners.
Joe Daniels of Fraser Riverkeeping, one of the partners in the Fraser Valley Illegal Dumping Alliance, said the Sunday opening idea sounds like “a good preventative measure.”
“I hadn’t heard of that idea yet, but I think it definitely would help relieve the dumping problem. Improving access to the dump allows people to tip more often, which might reduce the pressure, and help people to dispose of their garbage properly.
“I think it would be a good preventative measure against illegal dumping and a positive step on the city’s part.”
The landfill operation contract with Tervita Corp. includes the possibility of adding Sunday service at a cost of $125,690 a year, and council is considering introducing Sunday hours starting on April 1.