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Metro Vancouver's garbage plan trashed

The Lower Mainland's construction industry will be hit hard by Metro Vancouver's Zero Waste Plan and its scheme to build a new garbage incinerator that will hike solid waste fees, axe competition on solid waste disposal, and ultimately add to affordability challenges in the region.

The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association (ICBA) and the Canadian Home Builders Association of the Fraser Valley (CHBA-FV) said Metro Vancouver needs to step back from its heavy-handed and high-cost plan.

"This plan isn't about reducing waste in Metro Vancouver," said ICBA President Philip Hochstein. "It's about attacking private enterprise to create a government monopoly over waste management in order to fuel the new taxpayer-funded incinerator they want to use to burn garbage."

Under the Zero Waste Plan, construction companies and homeowners will face a 43% fee hike in solid waste fees by 2017. Construction companies will face further cost hikes as the plan will force all solid waste to flow to Metro Vancouver sites. Currently, private sector waste disposal companies use alternate recycling and disposal processes to keep costs competitive.

"Metro Vancouver's new waste management plan is another setback for housing affordability. The small and medium sized firms that drive construction in the region will no longer have access to competitive rates and the higher costs will end up being folded into already high housing costs," said Jan Field, Executive Director of the Canadian Home Builders Association of the Fraser Valley. "This is coming at a time when families in the Lower Mainland are already struggling with the cost of housing."

Fee hikes and the creation of a government garbage monopoly are just the beginning of the problems with Metro Vancouver's plan. With the amount of solid waste needed to fuel an incinerator in the region, the plan would actually act as a disincentive to recycling of construction waste and other products in the region.

ICBA and CHBA-FV have released a poll to that shows strong public opposition to the Metro Vancouver's solid waste plan—formally known as the Integrated Solid Waste and Resource Management Plan (ISWRMP).

The poll conducted by Think HQ Public Affairs from October 19 to 22 this year reveals that 58 per cent of citizens oppose the proposed fee hike, and 82 per cent of area residents are concerned about Metro Vancouver's spending increases. As well, 60 per cent of British Columbians would prefer their waste be recycled rather than incinerated.

"We have an unelected and unaccountable Metro government that's pushing through a solid waste plan that's a step backwards for our region," added Hochstein. "A government garbage monopoly will only serve the interests of Metro itself—it will impact the environment and leave the tax bill in the hands of the taxpayers. It must be stopped."

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