The City of Terrace is being relieved of the unexpected financial burden of dealing with the closure of its garbage dump just off Hwy 113 north of the city thanks to a $5 million grant announced by municipal affairs minister Anne Kang during a visit to city hall this morning.
Opened in the 1950s, the dump was closed in 2016 when the Kitimat-Stikine regional district opened its Forceman Ridge waste site and Thornhill transfer station the same year.
But having to meet enhanced provincial environmental standards strained the city’s ability to also provide for other capital projects, said Terrace mayor Sean Bujtas in thanking Kang for visiting the city and for providing the grant.
The money will provide for ongoing monitoring regarding leaching of liquids and other factors.
“We can now divert that money to other infrastructure projects,” said Bujtas of the $5 million now available for other uses.
He did not have a list ready of what those projects might be but noted the city’s roads and sewers are in need of improvements.
“They might not be pretty [projects] but they’re needed,” Bujtas added.
Since 2016 the city has spent a little over $2 at the now-closed dump and has already assigned another $5.2 million for work to take place this year. More money may be needed once this work is completed.
“We can’t speculate at this time as to how much of the $5 million in new funding will offset the existing $5.2 but it’s reasonable to assume a portion of our funds will be freed up for use elsewhere,” said city communications official Tyler Clarke.
Kang also announced the Kitimat-Stikine regional district is getting $3 million to expand the Forceman Ridge waste site just off Hwy 37 South on the way to Kitimat.
Kitimat mayor Phil Germuth, in his capacity as chair of the regional district board, was on hand to thank Kang.
When opened in 2016, Forceman Ridge had a rated capacity of 12 years.
“Twelve years was the plan but it has now filled up with all the development going on,” said Germuth.
The $3 million means regional district taxpayers won’t have to shoulder the expansion cost, he added.
Kang said the $8 million comes from a surplus in the province’s 2022-2023 fiscal year that ends March 31.
By provincial legislation, a surplus not spent by March 31 is then applied against the provincial debt.
She said more spending announcements are expected before the end of March.
“We are helping the City of Terrace and the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine to protect the environment and ensure public health of residents by investing in this critical community infrastructure,” Kang said.