Rod Nichol has been spearheading waste-to-energy (W2E) efforts with the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) board for the last several years.
Last fall he lost his seat as an electoral area director on the board of the Comox Valley Regional District, which, along with the Strathcona Regional District, makes up the CSWM.
At the Feb. 7 CSWM meeting in Campbell River, Nichol appeared as a delegation to urge the board to stay the course with waste-to-energy rather than terminate it as an option.
“I just don’t understand pulling the pin at this late date,” Nichol told CSWM members
He outlined how the board had come to put a Nova Scotia firm called Sustane Technologies at the top of its list as a potential proponent to offer W2E services. As part of the process, Nichol was among an SRD group visiting the company at its home last year.
“For the past five years, I’ve been actively researching alternatives to garbage disposal,” he said.
In light of the many new faces on the CSWM board, he outlined what he sees as the advantages as a way to divert material from landfill space.
Nichol said the two regional districts that make up the CSWM service area have two large landfills that emit methane into the atmosphere, which he added is more potent than carbon dioxide in terms of climate change effects.
“Sustane Technologies can stop it immediately,” he said. “All of the Sustane systems have been checked out.”
He said the company’s technology will have no emissions or effluent. Most of the plastic is recycled. What small amount of waste is left is converted into inert pellets.
Many countries are interested in the technology, Nichol explained, and it has attracted the attention of federal Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.
He also said Sustane is looking at getting a foothold in the “greenest province,” with the Comox and Strathcona regional districts providing a potential home for this.
“They would like a presence to showcase their technology,” he said.
Arzeena Hamir, who replaced Nichol as Area B’s director on the CVRD board and sits on the CSWM board, questioned whether Sustane would produce no emissions. She also wondered about the water used in the company’s processes. Nichol replied that all of the water is recycled in the plant.
He also again pitched its attributes in controlling waste and producing energy.
“It replaces dirty fuel,” he said.
Later in the meeting, the board passed a motion to take part in a performance monitoring program of Sustane Technologies’ waste management system currently under construction in Chester, N.S. Included was a resolution to approach the Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley regional districts about sharing an estimated $30,000 cost for the monitoring project.
There was some question that monitoring the one company might amount to “favouritism.” Russell Dyson, chief administrative officer for both the Comox Valley Regional District and CSWM, responded that participating in the monitoring program of Sustane Technologies did not limit CSWM’s procurement options should the board choose to request proposals for a W2E provider.