A new organics processing facility will produce Class A compost, support agriculture and food security for the Tla’amin Nation in British Columbia, providing new environmental jobs and economic opportunities.

The Tla’amin Nation will build the $1.15-million facility on land adjacent to the former Catalyst paper mill site in Powell River. Two-thirds of the funding will come from the joint federal/provincial Organics Infrastructure Program (OIP), and one-third from the Tla’amin Nation.

“One of the most important things people can do to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to divert organic waste from going into landfills,” said George Heyman, B.C.’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. “These investments significantly reduce the release of methane greenhouse gases and create benefits for future food production and opportunities for agricultural communities – an important part of our economic recovery.”

The new facility is expected to process up to 2,000 tonnes of organic waste each year and produce high-quality compost for local agriculture. The construction of the facility will be completed by March 31, 2022.

“As the Tla’amin move forward developing our Tla’amin Nation lands, we want to bring forward projects that are in line with our community-driven land use plan,” said Tla’amin Hegus (Chief) John Hackett. “One of our many plans is to utilize our land to grow produce and raise livestock, and the Class A compost produced by the organics processing facility will support agricultural and food security for the Tla’amin Nation. It will also service the qathet Regional District and the City of Powell River, while providing jobs and economic opportunities.”

The Tla’amin project adds to the 13 OIP projects announced to date and is the first one led by an Indigenous Nation. Overall, the OIP will result in a reduction of nearly 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, the equivalent of removing 100,000 cars from the roads for a year. Organic waste currently represents 40 per cent of material sent to municipal landfills in B.C. and generates 7.5 per cent of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“The Government of Canada is committed to supporting Canadians across the country in rebuilding from the pandemic, creating jobs and building more resilient communities,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. “We are pleased to partner with British Columbia and the Tla’amin Nation community in this project. This composting facility is a great example of the kind of local climate action that will help Canada reduce emissions but also create economic opportunities.”

The total project value is up to $1.15 million and includes $383,333 (33 per cent) contributions from each of the provincial government, the federal government and the Tla’amin Nation.

The project is estimated to result in a reduction, over 10 years, of 5,200 tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent – a standard unit for measuring carbon footprints from different greenhouse gases). This is the same as removing more than 1,800 cars from the road for one year.

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