Thank you to those of you who attended the first Open House for the Prairie Sky Resource Centre. We appreciate and value your feedback.
From the Open House, our meetings in the community, and the door to door visits that we have conducted thus far, we have compiled a list of those questions most frequently asked. As we continue through this process people will have more questions. The Prairie Sky team wants to hear from you and will work to provide you with the answers. We are listening to you and answering your questions.
You can submit any further questions you may have on the feedback form or by calling (403) 684-3621, and we will respond to your query. Questions and answers will also be posted on this page as they come in.
June 2011 Frequently Asked Questions
Why this site?
After very extensive geological surveys at multiple sites, this land was found to be ideal because it has significant depths of impermeable clays. It is also in a region that is already used for industrial purposes. Positioned next to the explosives plant and along a highway, this site is in a location with little impact on the nearby community.
Who does BFI Canada report to?
To Alberta Environment, both for initial project approval and through regular monitoring once the site is operational. BFI Canada must adhere to high standards and satisfy Alberta Environment that all safety and community standards are being met. We also rely on community feedback regarding our operations. A direct line of communication is established with the communities in which we do business, to ensure we meet our good neighbour and community partner priorities.
What is the method of approval for this project?
Both the M.D. of Foothills and Alberta Environment have to approve this project and both have separate processes and requirements that must be completed and met by BFI Canada. These stringent requirements have to be met in order to obtain approval for the development of the Prairie Sky Resource Centre. Included as a part of these requirements are extensive geological studies, studies of the natural environment, traffic audits and public consultations carried out by BFI Canada. The public consultation component is only just beginning. We held our first Open House on June 8th, and we are hosting a second Open House on June 28th. We will continue to engage with the community, meet with community members one-on-one, answer any questions you may have and cultivate an on-going discussion with you throughout the entire process. We hope to achieve the necessary approvals for the Prairie Sky Resource Centre in early 2012.
Will it accept hazardous waste?
Will this site take Calgary garbage?
Calgary’s household garbage goes to Calgary landfills. This site is designed to service our customers throughout Southern Alberta, including in the M.D., and will primarily accept industrial and commercial wastes. Approximately 50-60% of that waste is non-hazardous soil – for example, soil excavated in the construction of new buildings. In fact, BFI Canada had a long history of similar operations in the M.D. of Foothills before our site was annexed by the City of Calgary in 1998.
Will there be odours?
This site will accept primarily dry industrial commercial wastes, of which 50% to 60% will be non-hazardous soils. The design of the site and the types of materials accepted ensure that there will be very little odour generated. Furthermore, as a part of the site’s operation, the cells where materials will be placed will be covered and sealed each day to ensure that any potential odours are capped in the cell. BFI Canada is a leader in building modern, highly engineered recovery centres and our best practices help to ensure that there is little to no impact on our neighbours.
BFI Canada utilizes full-time ‘pickers’ on site as well as fencing around our operations to limit the chances that litter leaves our sites. The potential for this nuisance is further reduced by our practice of covering all non-recoverable waste daily as it arrives to our site and by the types of waste that we generally accept.
Will this facility increase traffic?
Trucks accessing our site will utilize the same route as those trucks that already access the explosives plant, avoiding additional traffic through Blackie. Furthermore, we are in the process of conducting a two stage traffic audit which will include a traffic safety audit and safety impact assessment. The traffic safety audit will review current traffic loads, school bus routes, accident records, and general safety issues. This audit will also include an examination of weather impacts (particularly ground fog), lighting, speed, pavement and pavement markings, auxiliary lanes, wildlife presence, signage, intersection controls, and obstructions. The traffic safety audit will provide recommendations for the safe handling of current and future traffic loads. We will share those findings once we have the results of the studies and audit which are expected to be completed this summer.
How do you protect groundwater?
Modern waste management and recycling centres are highly engineered and sited, designed and constructed like a vault to prevent the release of contaminants into the surrounding environment. This site was chosen in large part because of the geology of the property - this project will not impact groundwater and aquifers that are used for well water. We begin by selecting the correct natural environment with the right surface and subsurface characteristics to protect the environment. This site contains natural impermeable clay soils which prevent the movement of water due to the tightness of the clay. A synthetic liner will be used in addition to the clay liner. These synthetic liners will last for hundreds of years. The design of the liner system will meet and exceed the requirements outlined by the Government of Alberta for waste management and recycling centres. As a further precaution, groundwater will be monitored regularly.
What will BFI Canada do in the event of a fire?
Fires are not a concern at our site. We have trained first responders in case there is ever an instance, which in our experience is very rare due to the procedures we have in place at our facilities. We also have ready access to the proper equipment such as a water truck, which is onsite, as well as sufficient soils to manage and extinguish any fire. BFI Canada personnel are trained to watch for the initial signs of a fire and there is always an employee present during the delivery and placement of materials. BFI Canada is equipped to deal with fires, and does not anticipate having to call upon local fire department for assistance.
Will property values decline?
Our experience shows that property values do not decline in the communities in which we operate. In fact, it is expected that Blackie will benefit from this proposed economic development through new jobs, increased tax base to the M.D. and through the community hosting fees paid directly to the local community. However, should values decline, BFI Canada has a program in place to compensate homeowners.
How will this site benefit Blackie?
Prairie Sky will benefit Blackie in several important and meaningful ways. It will bring new jobs to the area and provide free drop-off facilities to local residents. The facility will add to the M.D. tax base, pay a road maintenance fee and provide community hosting funds to the community to use on priority projects such as the school, the arena, a new community centre or other important projects around town.
Will local jobs be created?
Prairie Sky Resource Centre will create full-time and well-paid jobs at the site in a variety of fields. We also anticipate additional jobs will be created in the area during the construction and initial development of the site. We will give priority to interested local workers in this area when filling these positions. We are also seeking to work with existing businesses in the area as an on-going part of this project. We prefer to source supplies and services locally where possible.
Can local residents use this facility?
Absolutely, and they can use it free of charge.
What will it look like?
BFI Canada will integrate the site to fit the environment, including appropriate landscaping. Once the facility has reached maturity, BFI Canada will landscape the entire site to be a community asset. See current site plan.
When will it open?
The facility would open in 2013, provided that we obtain a permit to operate from Alberta Environment and that we receive land use approval from MD Foothills Council, and obtain a development permit from the M.D. of Foothills.
How long will BFI use the site, and then what?
This site should be open for 25 to 35 years. At that time BFI Canada will take responsibility to close the facility and convert it for future use, based on input from the community. We will also monitor and maintain the facility after closure and we will establish a fund to ensure that this occurs.
Is this project similar to the proposed site in Carseland?
Multiple sites were researched in determining a location for this project including a site in Carseland. However, after extensive study BFI Canada believes that this location is more appropriate for this kind of development given the geology of the site and the fact that it will be situated next to the heavy industrial use of the explosives plant. Furthermore, the economic benefits this project will bring to Blackie will be a positive influence in this area that will help to support community initiatives, whether it be the school, the arena or other community needs.
The Coronation site accepts BC’s waste; will Prairie Sky eventually accept BC’s waste as well?
Prairie Sky Resource Centre will not accept waste from BC. The site is designed to meet the demand for waste management and resource recovery, and to support economic growth in the region and to service our customers in Southern Alberta, including Blackie area residents.
Will railway access allow garbage to be shipped in from other places too?
BFI Canada will not be using the railway access to transport any waste to or from the facility, and its proximity to the site is purely coincidental. This site was chosen because of its geology and because of its proximity to industrial use, situated near the explosives plant. The site is designed to service our customers throughout Southern Alberta, including in the M.D.
Will BFI Canada accept animal remains and asbestos, which Coronation currently accepts?
Prairie Sky will not accept animal remains or asbestos and has not (and will not) applied to accept that type of waste at this site.
Where are the survey calls coming from and why don’t all the surveys ask the about Prairie Sky?
BFI Canada is committed to understand the community’s questions and addressing all concerns. We continue to go door to door in the community and look forward to our next Open House to ensure that you have the information you need to be informed about this proposed project. We have also engaged an independent, third party public research company, as one method, of identifying possible concerns so that we can address and answer all questions. We thank the community residents who received this call for answering the questions and being honest in their responses.
How can BFI Canada assure us of the benefits they’re proposing? How can we be sure BFI Canada will use local businesses? Don’t they already have their own people who service trucks and cater to other business needs?
BFI Canada is committed to the communities to which they belong. Prairie Sky will bring new jobs, in various fields, to the area during construction. Once completed and operational preference will always be given to local applicants. BFI Canada will work with existing businesses in the area as an on-going part of this project. We prefer to source supplies and services locally where possible, this is a company priority and we have a demonstrated track record of this at our other facilities. The site will also add to the M.D. tax base, pay a road maintenance fee and provide community hosting funds for the community to use on priority projects such as the school, the arena, a new community centre or other important projects. We will always put our commitments in writing.
What will happen to Frank Lake’s conservation efforts and what does Ducks Unlimited have to say about this project?
BFI Canada supports the Frank Lake conservation efforts and has a long history of working very closely with many environmental organizations, to ensure environmental protection and preservation. We have retained recognized experts to ensure that the project will result in the overall enhancement of habitat for wildlife. Moreover, Prairie Sky will include the restoration of natural prairie habitat in keeping with our mandate to preserve the environment.
How can we protect ourselves against BFI which is an international company which has paid fines for past infractions and has multiple court actions listed on the Simon Law Firm website?
You are confusing Browning Ferris Industries (BFI) in the U.S. with BFI Canada. BFI Canada purchased the Canadian assets of Browning Ferris industries in the year 2000. We are proud of BFI Canada’s history of working with our local communities and working together to address concerns. To be clear, the information posted on the Facebook page in relation to Simon Law is about another company and has no relationship to BFI Canada. We are a wholly owned Canadian company, headquartered in Toronto and traded on both the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.
How can we make sure BFI Canada listens to our concerns? BFI Canada has received binders of complaints received from the Chaparral community, but its own community association turned on them because BFI Canada bought them off. What protection do we have against this?
We are committed to listening to questions and concerns and providing facts to address those concerns. All we ask in return is that the facts and information are received and reviewed objectively. BFI Canada has worked very closely with the Chaparral community, including the Chaparral Community Association, Chaparral residents Association and with the Community Liaison Committee that we helped establish, to address concerns and take action to rectify any issues. We would encourage Blackie community residents to contact the Chaparral community president to ask how BFI Canada responded to their concerns. We are proud of the immediate action we took to resolve matters and are proud of the relationship we’ve established with the community. We are also proud of the community initiatives that we have been able to support in Chaparral and in all of the neighbourhoods we operate across North America.
In their ads and letters, has BFI Canada misrepresented what they were planning to build to make it seem like a recycling centre?
BFI Canada has been upfront and transparent in all of our communication and we are committed to continue operating this way. A perfect example of this transparency is the fact that we have involved the community in the process through open houses and mailings even before we made an application to Alberta Environment or to the MD. Prairie Sky Resource Centre is a proposed integrated waste recovery facility combining modern technology with natural processes to manage waste and recover resources at the facility. This proposed facility will include a recycling centre, composting, waste disposal operations and an environmental and resource recovery education centre. If you still have questions or concerns please feel free to contact us via the website, email address or telephone number we’ve provided, and we will answer all of your questions.
Burrowing owls will disappear from land. Has BFI Canada done a study on the wildlife?
To date, no evidence of such wildlife has been found on this site. BFI Canada uses an independent third party to conduct multiple bio-physicals (Wildlife Presence Studies) on the land. These studies will consider the impact on all forms of wildlife and their habitat and the results of these studies will be shared with the community and reported to Alberta Environment. We are proud of our commitment to the local prairie heritage, including birdlife and fescue grasses and we are committed to further enhancing this habitat.
Why are you proposing this site instead of incineration?
We agree with the Southern Alberta Waste to Energy Alliance (SAWEA) that the future of waste management in Southern Alberta will be based on “recovery”. Our goal at the Prairie Sky Resource Centre is to harvest the materials that can be recovered to another purpose. In fact, with this facility we believe that we will be able to meet, if not exceed, the provincial target of 80% reduction of disposal materials ending up in landfills. We are excited about the opportunities that this provides Southern Alberta. However, even as we move towards improved recovery techniques and technologies there remain some materials that need disposal in an environmentally safe and sealed facility. Our site will be owned by a publicly traded company, not require any government funding and provide modern technology for waste diversion and recovery.