Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan believes that there should be an inquiry into the provincial government’s handling of Metro Vancouver’s garbage-disposal plan.
According to Corrigan, the situation reeks of another B.C. Rail–like corruption scandal.
In a phone interview, Corrigan said that there is an “obviously significant connection” between the ruling B.C. Liberal party and the Belkorp Group of Companies. A subsidiary, Wastech Services Ltd., has been allowed to undertake a major expansion of the regional landfill it operates in Cache Creek in the Interior.
Belkorp has donated $99,270 to the B.C. Liberals since 2005. It previously employed Premier Gordon Campbell’s former deputy minister, Ken Dobell, as a lobbyist on solid-waste disposal. Its current vice president, Gary Collins, is a former B.C. Liberal finance minister.
Corrigan noted that although the province didn’t allow Metro Vancouver to use the Ashcroft Ranch, which the regional government bought in 2000 for the purpose of building a landfill for its trash, the Ministry of Environment has provided Belkorp with an environmental assessment certificate (EAC) to extend the life of its own landfill by 17 to 25 years with a new 42-hectare facility.
“What I do know is that if we end up using the Cache Creek landfill we’re going to be paying the private sector for something that we have already purchased as a public entity,” Corrigan told the Straight. “Does that not stink to you?”
The Burnaby mayor added that the Cache Creek landfill extension is going to limit Metro Vancouver’s options for garbage disposal, which could include incineration.
Ted Rattray, president of Belkorp Environmental Services Inc., Wastech’s parent company, told the Straight that it’s a “matter of public record that we made contributions to the [B.C.] Liberal party”.
“We’ve been working at this for a number of years, and that development has been as a result of all of what we put in place,” Rattray told the Straight about the landfill extension whose EAC was issued by the Environment Ministry on January 6.
Belkorp has a garbage-disposal contract with Metro Vancouver worth $50 million a year, according to Rattray.