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District of Squamish eyes 2029 for completion of lateral landfill expansion

The $23-million project is expected to be complete when current landfill becomes full.
DoS report
District map shows the expansion area.

The landfill's lateral expansion — and its associated upgrades over the next decade — are expected to cost about $23 million.

Over the total lifespan of the landfill, between now and its closure in 2074, about $50 million is expected to be spent.

On April 12, the municipality's solid waste specialist, Shannon White, provided an update to council on the current affairs of the landfill.

Since the structure in its current state is anticipated to become full in the late 2020s, the District is pursuing the necessary permitting of Crown land that would allow it to expand laterally, White said.

"We want to ensure that there is a site for all of us to dispose of our garbage at the end of the day, before our current landfill…reaches capacity," said White.

"So the District of Squamish has submitted a sponsored Crown grant land application for the land east of the current Squamish landfill…And that land application has been submitted to the B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. It's anticipated this application could take up to four years, which would bring us to 2024 and the end of 2024 or 2025."

White noted the land is on unceded Squamish Nation territory that the Crown owns, so the District has asked a consultant to look into any potential archaeological impacts.

Another necessary step is the amendment of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's Solid Waste Resource Management Plan, which governs garbage management in the region, she said.

"In this amendment, we need to include explicit approval for the lateral expansion of the Squamish landfill, as well as to include waste export as a backup option," White said.

She said staff anticipate being able to proceed with a lateral expansion of the landfill, but having waste export as an option can help authorities deal with unforeseen circumstances.

Before an amendment to the plan is made, however, the District needs to engage with affected parties, and this is expected to take place between this May and June, White added. This would take the form of website updates, open houses, surveys and online talks.

"The final submission will be submitted to the province in early 2023," she said. "It is the SLRD board of directors [that will allow] for us to do the submission. So that's why there's a little bit of delay in timing there."

There is also the desire to incorporate environmentally-friendly goals into the upgrades accompanying the expansion. 

District staff are studying the possibility of building a dirty material recovery facility in the area.

"This is the site where maybe garbage comes and then there's a pre-sort before it goes in the landfill to potentially remove any recyclables [and] organics before[hand]," White said.

She added municipal staff hope to include opportunities for increased waste diversion, beneficial reuse of materials and the encouragement of a circular economy.

The expansion is expected to include clay lining, engineered fabric lining, leachate treatment, piping and landfill gas collection systems.

Ideally, the lateral expansion should be accepting waste by around 2029. 


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