From the Mayor’s Desk – Brenda Renewables Reclamation Project

Mayor Cindy Fortin

Hello fellow Peachlanders,

I’d like to share information on the Brenda Renewables project – an anaerobic digestion facility proposed for the former Brenda Mines site, as part of the reclamation of that site.  A recent Castanet story discussed a presentation by the Brenda Renewables team at a West Kelowna council meeting, leaving some local residents wondering, Shouldn’t this be about Peachland, as it is in our watershed? 

I was admittedly disappointed that Peachland wasn’t mentioned in that story – other than as one of the contributors of biosolids to the project from the Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant. But I did want to let you know that Peachland council has had a presentation by Brenda Renewables Ltd, as has the Mayor’s Task Force on Climate Change, our Healthy Watersheds Committee, and the local Peachland Watershed Protection Alliance group.  

We have also had tours of the site, and have asked them to have a public information session. They are opening an office in the TNI Business Centre downtown, and the public is welcome to inquire more about the project there. You can also go to their website at: brendarenewables.ca. 

Even though the permission to operate comes from the Province – as it is outside of our jurisdiction and authority – Brenda Renewables has been very open and willing to answer a host of questions proposed to them by our District of Peachland council and staff, and committee groups. Two members of our committees have also toured their existing facility in Abbotsford. 

Overall, we have been quite impressed with the proposed project and that it will not negatively affect our watershed. In fact, there will be some benefits to Peachland residents, including a possible satellite local location that will take our yard waste to their site. Having said that, it is important to know that the District of Peachland takes all activities that occur in our watershed very seriously, and will continue to ask questions and follow the progress of this project.

Here are some facts about Brenda Renewables…

What is Brenda Renewables?

Brenda Renewables is an anaerobic digestion and compost facility proposed for the former Brenda Mines site. The system will process local municipal organic waste, yard waste, and biosolids to produce renewable natural gas and high-nutrient compost.

Who is heading up the Brenda Renewables project?

Matt Malkin of Organics West and Rolfe Philip of Brenda Renewables. Mark Tenbrick is the reclamation and project manager for Glencore Canada (the company that owns Brenda Mines). Their contact information can be found on their website.

Will there be Class B Biosolids deposited on the land in our watershed?

Absolutely not. Class B Biosolids are not going to be applied to the land at the site. This was a major concern and one of the first questions that was asked. A few years back I was one of the people at the forefront of protesting against having Class B Biosolids being laid on the ground in our watershed, as Class B Biosolids (the leftover sludge from the wastewater treatment process after the liquids are separated from the solids) contain unhealthy pathogens. 

Class A Biosolids are a different story, as they have been processed in a way that there are no longer any detectable pathogens present. All organic matter, including biosolids, will be processed into Class A compost, as defined by the BC Ministry of the Environment. “OgoGrow” is an example of this type of compost.

We all need to take responsibility for our biosolids, which are currently being trucked all the way to Alberta. This is definitely a viable solution.

What will be used as feedstock?

Primarily residential yard and garden waste, from our and other communities in the region. Secondary to that, residential food waste, agricultural organics, and biosolids. They may also be able to use any wood stock in the area, leftover from forestry operations.

Will any liquid run-off from the plant enter into Peachland’s drinking water?

According to Brenda Renewables, all of the storm water from the mine site will be treated first, stored, and then naturally let go into the Trepanier Creek watershed. Peachland residents get their drinking water from the Peachland Creek watershed, after it has been treated in the new water treatment plant.

Will traffic to and from the site go on Princeton Ave or Brenda Mines Road?

All traffic entering or exiting the property will do so by Hwy 97C access.

Will it smell?

There will be little or no detectable smell, due to the way they process the material. The Brenda Mines site is also quite a distance away, and all trucks, including those carrying biosolids, will enter the site via the Hwy 97 C entrance.

Will this project benefit Peachland?

Yes, by diverting community organics from the landfill, the generation and use of renewable natural gas, and the availability of the compost material for residents. It will also accelerate the revegetation of the Brenda Mines site, a former copper-molybdenum mine, something that they have been trying to do since the late 1980s. 

I hope that clears up some of the questions or concerns you may have. There is much more information available than what I can provide here, including the various stages of the project, and how the processing works. If you have more questions, I would suggest that you check out their website, drop by their office at the TNI Business Centre, or contact them directly.

One last thing that is important to mention…the District of Peachland has been requesting of the Province the need to have more authority in our watershed. This fall, as part of the ministerial meetings prior to the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) virtual conference, I, along with our CAO, met with three ministers – the Honourable Minister Josie Osbourne (Municipal Affairs), Minister George Heyman (Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy), and Katrine Conroy (Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development) – to stress this issue, and will continue to work toward this end.

Hope you have a great December!  

Mayor Cindy.

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