Councillors want vote on Metro’s incineration
Two Coquitlam city councillors want voters to go to the polls during the municipal election to decide on the fate of Metro Vancouver’s incineration plans.
On Monday, Coun. Neal Nicholson put forward a notice of motion — with Coun. Bonita Zarrillo seconding it — to ask city council to have the question on the ballot in November. Council will consider his motion at its June 16 meeting.
However, the board chair of Metro Vancouver said should the referendum proceed, the results would be moot. And Greg Moore accused Nicholson, who is on Metro’s zero waste committee, of “playing politics” with garbage and recycling services in the region to gain publicity for himself in an election year.
Metro wants to build a waste-to-energy facility — at a cost of about $480 million — to replace the aging centre in Burnaby, by 2018. Currently, the incinerator burns 280,000 tonnes of trash annually; a new incinerator would burn an estimated 370,000 tonnes a year, Metro Vancouver officials say.
“Coquitlam can do what they want but Metro Vancouver is proceeding based on the clear direction of the board,” said Moore, Port Coquitlam’s mayor, adding, “Metro Vancouver is proceeding on our solid-waste management resource plan that’s been approved by the provincial government so this is a document that has had thorough consultation... and the focal point of most of those discussions wasn’t about reducing and recycling it was about waste-to-energy.”
Moore said Nicholson hasn’t brought any motion to the zero waste committee, which happens to meet tomorrow.
“It’s interesting that he wants to play politics with a very important issue in this region,” Moore told The Tri-City News.
Still, Nicholson said the topic has generated a lot of feedback from residents. “They’re worried about it. They don’t think it’s the right way to go,” he said.
Metro can continue to landfill at Cache Creek or a closer site, if possible, he said.
And putting the question to the Coquitlam electorate will give voters a voice at the regional table, Nicholson argued. “This is the biggest decision being made at Metro for a long time. It’s a huge amount of money and once it’s committed and the contract is awarded, we are down that road for a long, long time.”
“I’m not saying ‘Don’t support it.’ I’m saying, ‘Tell me what you think,’” he said.