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Sicamous council considers kitchen alternative to ‘rat drive-thrus’

District exploring a FoodCycler appliance pilot program
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Sicamous council is considering taking part in a FoodCycler food waste diversion pilot program that would be 100 per cent grant funded, but have a small cost to residents. (File photo)

The District of Sicamous is exploring a FoodCycler pilot program pending community interest.

The organization Food Cycle Science pitched the program to council, explaining that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions and food waste in landfills by converting it to a nutrient-rich by-product that is basically soil. Chief financial officer Bianca Colonna explained that it’s a composting unit people can have in their kitchens.

The program would be 100 per cent grant funded, with the district getting approximately $60,000 each year from the Local Government Climate Action Incentive Program for green initiatives. As this diverts waste from the landfill, it’s applicable, explained Colonna during the Nov. 22 district finance committee meeting.

For the 100-household pilot program, the district would order 50 of the smaller units, and 5o of the larger ones, for a total cost of $33,900. They would subsidize the cost to residents at $100, regardless of the unit size, with participants then paying $150 to $300 depending on which they choose as the best choice for their household needs. With the district recouping those amounts, it’s net cost would be $11,400.

In researching the program, Colonna reached out to other communities that participated, with Tumbler Ridge reporting great results.

“So far it’s going over extremely well in Tumbler Ridge. The community has really embraced it,” she said, but added, however, that Dawson Creek didn’t have as much success a few years ago as the initiative didn’t fit their community at that time.

As the FoodCyclers would negate the need for outdoor compost bins, which Coun. Bob Evans described as “basically rat drive-thrus,” council was generally supportive of the initiative.

“Right now we are facing a growing rat population and it is because of our compost and what rats like. It’s not a problem, but it’s growing and compost attracts them,” Mayor Colleen Anderson said. “So I’m in favour of this.”

Coun. Pam Beech also pointed out that as a “condo living community,” this provides a compatible, food waste solution for those residents.

Coun. Ian Baillie, however, was the lone opponent to the program, citing the risk element.

“I’m not a huge fan of this. I look at this from a business perspective and we’re taking all the risk,” said Baillie. We’re buying 100 units up front, then basically have to sell it on the company’s behalf. It’s a great deal for the company, I just don’t know if it’s a great deal for us… we’re out there basically marketing their machine.”

He added that if the company would be willing to take back any unsold units at cost, he would be in favour of the programs as that removes the risk to the district.

With the majority of council in support of implementing the pilot program, it will come back to regular council on Dec. 13 for a resolution to enter into the agreement, with Colonna contacting the company regarding unit returns if necessary.

Read more: Sicamous seeks savings as cost of Shuswap Healing Centre rises

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