Esquimalt Waste Plant
(Graphic showing potential location of a new gasification plant/Township of Esquimalt)

The Township of Esquimalt is seeking feedback from residents on a new project aimed at changing how local waste is processed.

Esquimalt Council is eyeing a new Integrated Resource Management (IRM) process with the intention of maximizing resource recovery from waste.

The proposal suggests processing solid waste, kitchen scraps and yard waste using gasification rather than incinerating or sending materials to landfills.

With gasification, materials are not burned and are instead subjected to high heat in a closed environment. By-products from the process are energy and biochar, a carbon-rich organic substance.

“It’s important that we hear feedback from our residents and businesses on this potential project,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins.

“What we are discussing here is a remarkable opportunity.”

The Township’s report on IRM processing says that the project would eliminate 4,500 tons of Greenhouse Gas emissions from Esquimalt every year, the equivalent of taking 970 cars off the road each year.

This would exceed the Township’s 2030 corporate target for lowered emissions, and cover approximately a third of the community target.

The report also says that moving the Township to a gasification process would require construction of a new facility, which could be housed in Esquimalt’s public works yard.

Construction of the new plant would cost an estimated $21 million.

Various cost/benefit projections are also examined in the report based on different scenarios, such as the facility processing Esquimalt’s waste exclusively, or taking in additional sources of waste from commercial operations or larger multi-family complexes.

A live webinar will be made available to the public on September 22 where residents can ask questions and learn about the project.

Residents can also offer feedback through an online survey until October 9.

Results from the public engagement will be presented to Council at a meeting later this fall.

Information about the project, including a link to the online survey, is available online at esquimalt.ca/IRM.