Regulators respond to compost concerns

CRD, Island Health and ALC gather in Central Saanich to speak on subject

Residents of Central Saanich fighting against the Foundation Organics compost facility may have a little more clarity on where they stand after a meeting with all the involved regulatory agencies on Tuesday night.

Representatives from the Capital Regional District, Island Health (formerly Vancouver Island Health Authority) and the Agricultural Land Commission were on hand during Tuesday night’s committees meeting to answer questions from residents and council.

Colin Fry, an executive director with the ALC, said he was hopeful the Commission would make a decision on whether the Foundation Organics facility is operating within its rights as a compost facility on farm land or if they are in contravention by running an industrial waste processing facility.

“I think we’re drawing to conclusion [on that] either by the end of this week or next,” he said.

Dr. Murray Fyfe with Island Health offered insight into the issues surrounding reported health concerns with the facility, although, he said, it can be hard to find substantial evidence that a facility like Foundation Organics is a health concern.

“It would be difficult to label it a health hazard,” said Fyfe.

Fyfe added there currently aren’t existing guidelines for safe levels of bioaerosols (suspended airborne particles that contain living organisms or were released from living organisms) and that Island Health doesn’t have the technology to measure the content in the air surrounding the facility.

Jade Yehia, an Environmental Health Consultant with Island Health did say Island Health is looking into teaming up with universities to see if a study can be done to develop a framework on air quality around facilities such as Foundation Organics.

Currently, the Capital Regional District has suspended Foundation Organics operating license and has ordered them to clear the property of any food waste before Oct. 25.

reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com