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2016 News and Information

Richmond Council demands end to organics odour problem

25 October 2016

Richmond City Council has again demanded that Metro Vancouver regional district take stronger action to combat unacceptable odours produced by the Harvest Power composting operation.

“Harvest Power provides an important service regionally, but odours from the facility have been unacceptable, for far too long,” said Mayor Malcolm Brodie. “Richmond City Council has repeatedly called upon Metro Vancouver and Harvest Power for solutions to eliminate odours from the facility, but the complaints keep increasing.”

Harvest Power, a known and long-standing source of odours in Richmond, was recently issued a new Metro Vancouver air quality permit that will extend its operations through April, 2018. Harvest Power currently recycles much of the organic waste collected by regional municipalities and private businesses.

Metro Vancouver regional district is responsible for air quality issues within the region, a role delegated by the province of BC. Metro Vancouver recently renewed Harvest Power’s air quality permit, with new, more stringent measures for odour control and remedies if the company fails to comply. Harvest Power has committed to making significant investments in order to reduce the odours coming from its site.

Concerned citizens are encouraged to call Metro Vancouver’s odour complaint hotline at 604 436-6777 or use the online complaint form on Metro Vancouver’s Make An Air Quality Complaint webpage at http://bit.ly/MVAirQuality.

“Based on the volume of complaints, Metro Vancouver will deploy officers to suspected sources.” said Brodie. A link to the Metro Vancouver complaint form can also be found on the City of Richmond website’s homepage at www.richmond.ca. Residents are also encouraged to phone Harvest Power directly at (Correction: 604-836-8387) to exert influence on the company to meet its commitments.

Over the past year, Council has sent numerous letters to Metro Vancouver, the province of BC and other relevant agencies, and met with the responsible staff from Metro Vancouver and Harvest Power seeking action to address the ongoing odour issue. The City’s public reports on the issue have contributed to increased public awareness. Direct advocacy with Metro Vancouver’s Board of Directors increased public input opportunities during the permit renewal process, increased Metro Vancouver enforcement of the facility and most importantly, led to stringent requirements in new air quality permit – requirements that are expected to eliminate odours from the facility.

Richmond City Council’s latest action was to request that Metro Vancouver hire more officers to enforce the new permit and that it revamp the complaint hotline to be more responsive to community concerns.

“The complaint hotline is inadequate. Your message is received but most often it’s unclear how, or if, your concern was addressed” said Mayor Brodie. For this reason, Richmond is requesting that Metro Vancouver improve opportunities for the public to share their concerns about odours; that it regularly report to the public the severity and frequency of odour complaints; and most importantly, that Metro Vancouver report back to the public the measures that were taken to address their concerns.

Richmond City Council is also requesting that Metro Vancouver hold a public meeting to explain the Harvest Power permit renewal to concerned citizens. 

UPDATE: More information on the actions the City of Richmond has taken to date can be found at bit.ly/OdourUpdate.