The RDEK Board has voted down a proposed commercial compost facility east of Cranbrook after lengthy consideration.
The applicant was asking for the Regional District to rezone rural farmland in the Mayook area to allow for a facility that would recycle up to 6,000 tonnes of waste material.
Board Chair Rob Gay addressed Directors before the vote Friday and tried to get two major points across.
Gay says after much engagement with the public and resident he agrees it is a good idea for a bad location.
He also argued the RDEK just convinced Mayook area residents to get on board with an Official Community Plan and they don’t want to seem to be going back on that already.
The head of the Board says many locals were initially strongly opposed to the OCP because they didn’t want government telling them what to do.
Gay suggests if they continuously told them that plan was in the best interest of the community, and then made a decision, the community was so against, and contractied the newly implemented plan, it would go against everything the Regional District is suppose to stand for.
He says, at the end of the day, the Board is there to do what is in the best interest of the community.
Gay admits they will receive criticism for making the proponent jump through many hoops before ultimately declining the project.
Directors disagreed during the entire process, arguing not to get in the way of business, pushing the matter to public hearings, requesting environmental assessments and echoing sediments of the public “I’m not opposed to composting, just not in my backyard.”
Some residents were opposed to the project due to issues stemming from similar plants in Abbostsford, Merritt and Ladysmith.
Concerns surrounded disruption to ground and water quality and traffic safety.
Gay says the proponent did everything the Board asked them to, but at the end of the day they still sent them packing.
– Josh Hoffman
– RDEK Board Chair Rob Gay