Council receive feedback on BioVator from Alberta

Council and staff member may now visit Winnipeg instead of Edmonton

The Town of Lake Cowichan has received feedback on the use of an organic composter which may result in a council and staff member visiting a version of the machine elsewhere.

Chief administrative officer Joe Fernandez contacted the University of Alberta in Edmonton, which has a BioVator on site, in order to attain further information on the composter and arrange a visit.

Back in April, council agreed to send a councillor and staff member to Alberta to visit the BioVator with the town currently contemplating whether or not to purchase one for Lake Cowichan.

But unconvincing feedback from Alberta may see the town plan the visit somewhere else now.

Fernandez presented an email from Karsten Mundel at the university, who oversaw the BioVator project there, to council members at last week’s Sustainable Planning and Development Committee meeting.

“Our history with the BioVator is a bit mixed which is largely related to the fact that we have sited it in close proximity to air intakes,” read Mundel’s email. “Most days, it did not produce bad odours but on the few days it did (15 times/year) it was quite bad for indoor air quality.”

As a result, the university is currently not using the BioVator.

Coun. Bob Day thinks a visit to a similar mechanism at The Forks in Winnipeg may now be more viable, as he doesn’t envision the town using the BioVator in a similar way to the university.

“I read the letter and I don’t think we would install it next to air intakes anyway,” said Day. “Perhaps this isn’t the best example of use. In Winnipeg, they regulate the temperature appropriately as well, in terms of the amount of carbon that goes in.”

As a result, Fernandez will now contact Winnipeg for further information.

Mayor Ross Forrest still believes the timing of the visit to wherever is crucial.

“If we do visit, we have to go at a time of the year where the odours would be a problem,” he said. “It’s something that we wouldn’t want in our town.”

Lake Cowichan Gazette