Cruise ships docking in Victoria could soon have to pay more than three times what they currently do for the solid waste they leave behind.
A $157 fee is charged per tonne for the solid waste sent to Hartland Landfill from cruise ships. The Capital Regional District’s environmental services committee on June 15 approved upping that per tonne fee to $500 as of 2024. That will still need to be passed by the CRD board.
A report said the value of landfill space and costs associated with managing high-risk cruise ship waste means the current fee was too low.
In the last non-pandemic year, cruise ships docking in Victoria offloaded 2,100 tonnes of the solid waste before it was taken to the Greater Victoria dump. About 30 per cent (approximately 600 tonnes) of that was designated as high-risk by federal agencies overseeing cruise ship waste. High-risk waste is buried in controlled waste trenches and covered with a minimum of one metre of low permeability clay at Hartland.
Cruise ships are not required to offload waste upon docking as that decision is up to the ship’s crew to decide. But given limited storage space, the CRD said regular offloading is a logistical necessity.
The environmental services committee voted against a proposal by Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps to have the increased fee take effect in a year.
“I think waiting until 2024 is far too long. Industry adjusts and this is an adjustment that they’re going to need to make if they want to continue to keep bringing waste here,” Helps said.
The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority told the CRD that cruise ship prices have already been set for 2023 and requested any changes to disposal fees be set to come into effect in 2024 or later.
Helps said her proposed timeline was a fair compromise as it gave the industry a year to prepare while also taking action on the CRD’s adopted solid waste plan by deterring waste from the landfill.
In using 2019 as a baseline, CRD staff said the $500 per tonne fee would cost the cruise industry $200,000 a year, which would be revenue for the district. That fee is the same as what Hartland charges for the disposal of asbestos, which is the only other type of waste that comes from beyond the region’s boundaries. High-risk and controlled waste takes up more space at Hartland and also requires additional staff and added contractor costs.
Beyond the items sent to Hartland, the CRD report said 85 per cent of all the cruise ship waste received in Victoria is recycled. Black Press Media has asked if that means that portion is sent to recycling facilities or if the percentage refers to how much material ends up being processed and recycled. A response from TYMAC, the contractor that manages cruise ship waste removal, did not clarify this distinction.
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