Residents of Deer Lake are able to reap what they sow, or in this case what they compost through a project that started small and is gradually getting bigger.
About 12 years ago the town decided to start a basic compost site. At the time there was a Katimavik team in the town and it was decided that project would be the team’s focus.
Junior Pinksen, who is now the town’s recreation director, was tasked with overseeing it.
After looking at what other communities were doing a basic site for the collection of lawn clippings and leaves was set up near the lagoon in an area now known as Evergreen Lane.
“We wanted to make sure that when we started the composting that people were going to adhere to some of the rules that we put there and to see if it was something that the community wanted.”
In no time people started to drop off clippings and leaves to the site and while it normally takes three years to complete the composting process, Pinksen said the town wasn’t getting to that three-year mark. People were going to the site to drop off materials and picking some up some of the compost material — for free — even though it wasn’t quite to the compost stage.
“People were loving it,” he said. “They really embraced it.”
Through the years the town has kept maintaining the site and added signage on what is and is not acceptable and where to place dropped off items.
It’s now in Phase 2 of the project and has set up concrete barriers to better define the site and in 2018 hopes to fence in the area.
There will also be a section added for the collection of trees, limbs and branches that the town can chip and added the chips to the compost.
With west coast municipalities now looking at having to truck waste to a regional facility in central the goal for the third phase of the project is to move into introducing table scraps to the mix.
“The number of tonnes that we can reduce being trucked to the regional waste site, it’s a benefit and a cost savings to the tax payers,” said Pinksen.
At the end of the day, he said it’s better for the environment and residents get free compost.
While he hasn’t taken any of the compost to use, Tom Brent has certainly dropped off his fair share of lawn clippings and leaves to the site.
“I used to bag it and it would go to the landfill,” he said. But now he dumps it on a tarp in the back of his pickup, goes to the site and pulls the tarp out. “And everything comes out nice and clean and I’m done.”
He said the material is not going to the landfill and there’s no room taken up in the garbage truck.
He said the location is convenient and putting the site in place was a good idea.
Depending on what was involved he’d be interested in seeing the allowable materials expanded as the idea of trucking waste to central bewilders him. “I can’t see the economics behind it.”