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What to do with landfill in Delta?

Delta has asked that the landfill crest in the remaining areas be filled to be as flat as possible
vancouver landfill 1970s image
The Vancouver Landfill in Delta opened in 1966.

What should be the new uses of the Vancouver Landfill once the dump closes for good?

That’s what the cities of Delta and Vancouver are trying to figure out as an end-use plan is being contemplated for the site, which is scheduled to close for good in 2037.

Metro Vancouver, Delta and Vancouver, which operates the garbage dump next to Burns Bog, currently have a deal signed in 1999 that stipulates an end-use plan be developed that meets with Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy's approval.

Vancouver also committed funding to complete the closure work.

A recent staff report to Delta council notes that both cities have initiated a process to develop a plan that identifies potential future land-use options.

Those options will be presented to council for review and feedback to form part of the plan development. Final potential options will be subsequently presented for council's approval and further consultation.

The report also notes a request for proposals for consulting services to assist with the development of the end-use plan was issued by Vancouver and closed several weeks ago.

“Pending the outcome of the end-use planning process and to maximize the potential future uses in the remaining phases of the landfill, Vancouver has been requested to design the landfill crest in the remaining areas to be filled to be as flat as possible,” the report notes.

A report to council last year noted, ““The End Use Plan could include a mix of potential future uses for the land, including natural areas, environmental buffer areas around the perimeter, and active light industrial uses in the centre, such as recycling and waste diversion infrastructure and green energy opportunities. In addition, opportunities to support the Highway 99 green corridor will be reviewed.”

Mayor George Harvie wrote a letter to his Vancouver counterpart, Kennedy Stewart, last year saying, “I am particularly interested in investigating the possibility of landfill lands being used to support increased transit use and bus frequency along the Highway 99 corridor in the future, and to help facilitate the transition to battery electric buses.”

The landfill is authorized to accept up to 750,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste, including demolition waste, for disposal each year.

In 2020, approximately 700,000 tonnes of waste were received at the landfill and a similar amount is projected for 2021.

Ongoing landfill closure work includes the construction of an impermeable liner, landfill gas collection piping and surface drainage infrastructure.

The most recent area to be closed is called Phase 4 South, which was completed in late 2020.

The landfill agreement also contains a separate agreement on the operation of the landfill, which includes the royalties paid to Delta on the amount of waste received.

Delta also gets free disposal of household waste.

A Delta engineering department memo in 2019 noted any early closure of the Vancouver Landfill “could have a significant financial impact to Vancouver and Delta.”