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Cruise ships could face heftier CRD waste fees in 2024

Environmental committee passes recommendation to increase cruise ship fees by up to $343 per tonne

Hanna Hett
June 16, 2022
Environment
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Cruise ships could face heftier CRD waste fees in 2024

Environmental committee passes recommendation to increase cruise ship fees by up to $343 per tonne

Hanna Hett
Jun 16, 2022
James MacDonald / Capital Daily
James MacDonald / Capital Daily
Environment
News
Based on facts either observed and verified firsthand by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

Cruise ships could face heftier CRD waste fees in 2024

Environmental committee passes recommendation to increase cruise ship fees by up to $343 per tonne

Hanna Hett
June 16, 2022
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Cruise ships could face heftier CRD waste fees in 2024
James MacDonald / Capital Daily

International cruise ships could find their high-risk waste disposal costs tripling in the Capital Region District, if the CRD board approves a recent recommendation from the Environmental Services Committee.

Currently, the CRD charges the same fee—$157 per tonne—for both high and low-risk waste tipping at the Hartland Landfill, despite high-risk waste requiring more work to dispose of. While low-risk waste (about 70% of the cruise ship waste the CRD receives) is managed like other household garbage, high-risk waste (roughly 30% of cruise ship waste received) requires burial in deep trenches with at least a metre of low-permeability clay coverage. It also cannot be compacted like other garbage, meaning it requires about triple the space.

Environmental committee passes recommendation to increase cruise ship fees by up to $343 per tonne

International cruise ships could find their high-risk waste disposal costs tripling in the Capital Region District, if the CRD board approves a recent recommendation from the Environmental Services Committee.

Currently, the CRD charges the same fee—$157 per tonne—for both high and low-risk waste tipping at the Hartland Landfill, despite high-risk waste requiring more work to dispose of. While low-risk waste (about 70% of the cruise ship waste the CRD receives) is managed like other household garbage, high-risk waste (roughly 30% of cruise ship waste received) requires burial in deep trenches with at least a metre of low-permeability clay coverage. It also cannot be compacted like other garbage, meaning it requires about triple the space.

In 2019—the last full year of cruise ship travel—the CRD processed roughly 2,100 tonnes of cruise ship waste, of which about 600 tonnes (roughly the weight equivalent of 661 Honda HR-Vs) qualified as high-risk.

CRD staff point to asbestos, the only other out-of-region waste accepted at Hartland, which is assessed a tipping fee of $500 per tonne. They say high-risk cruise ship waste—which requires the same manner of treatment—should be charged the same way.

Goal is for waste diversion
The environmental committee hopes that by increasing this tipping fee, it might incentivize cruise ships to increase their recycling and waste diversion. (Historically, about 85% of cruise ship waste is recycled—though staffers note there’s no data yet for cruise ships in 2022.)

Ian Robertson, chief executive of the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, told the Times Colonist that if the fee increase is approved, it shouldn’t go into effect until 2024.

"The cruise lines have pretty much put pricing to bed for the 2023 season, so to pass on another increase at this time, I think, would seem to be kind of confrontational," he said.

The committee passed this staff recommendation on Wednesday. It will move to the CRD Board in July for a final decision.

Recommendation follows pollution report
Some groups are calling for much more extreme measures against cruise ship waste than increased tipping fees. Stand.earth, an environmental activist organization, has advocated that Victoria pivot away from cruise ship tourism altogether. In a Feb. 2022 report, the group contended that the cancellation of cruise ships over the first two years of the COVID-19 pandemic saved Canada’s environment from over 60 billion litres of pollution as a result of lax environmental standards which lead to sewage, grey water, and waste water being dumped into the ocean.

The report’s authors further argued that stayover passengers—those that reside in the city for a period of days to weeks—contribute seven times more to the local economy than people coming in on cruises who usually only stay for a few hours to a day before departing up to Alaska, and create 31 times more jobs in the region. In 2019, cruise ship passengers contributed $137 million to the local economy while stayover passengers contributed $3 billion.

In addition to waste, cruise ships also emit large amounts of carbon dioxide. Prior Capital Daily reporting found that in 2019 alone, Victoria cruise ships emitted 11,406 tonnes of carbon dioxide and equivalents.

By Hanna Hett, with files from Capital Daily staff

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Hanna Hett
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