Metro politicians are raising good questions about the proposed Solid Waste Management Plan. And they are not getting good answers.
First Vancouver Councillor Heather Deal pointed out that 93% of the money in the new plan seems to be directed to burning and burying waste, and only 7% allocated for the plan's first two goals: minimizing waste generation and maximizing reuse, recycling and material recovery.
And then Deal noted that 91% of that 7% is directed to the establishment of "Eco-Centres."
At a cost of up to $14 million dollars each, Deal sensibly asked: what performance targets have you set for these centres? what level of waste diversion will they contribute?
To which staff, if you can believe it, had no answer. The plan provides no information about what an "eco-centre" is. But staff confirmed that the first one will start up in Surrey in 2010.
(This could come as bad news to the established recycling businesses that pay taxes in Surrey, which would now have to compete against a publicly run facility duplicating their services.)
Then it was West Van Mayor Pamela Goldsmith-Jones who raised her hand. She wanted to know why the "Financial Plan" within the waste plan was alloted less than half a page. "This is not a financial plan," she said. "I hesitate to receive this report."
CAO Johnny Carline replied that you don't normally include financial information in plans "because you would be tied to that," Plans are "strategic documents."
But at Goldsmith-Jones' insistence, Carline committed to bring back further financial detail to the meeting in two weeks time when the Board is intended to sign off on the plan.