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City of Calgary breaks ground on new compost facility with green technology

The Calgary Composting Facility in the Shepard Waste Management Facility in southeast Calgary is already one of the largest of its kind in Canada but it will soon be much larger.

The original space has been processing at its 100,000-tonnes-a-year capacity almost since it opened in 2017.

It will be dealing with 160,000 tonnes a year of table scraps and yard waste when it becomes operational by the end of 2025.

The city says it will cost $38 million more than the $50-million budget because of post-pandemic inflation and labour costs.

But Taneen Rudyk, past president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities, says Calgary will get $23 million out of its green fund.

“This will not only extend the life of the city’s landfill but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by roughly 64,000 tonnes per year.”

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Click to play video: 'Calgary home to biggest-of-its-kind composting facility in Canada'

Calgary home to biggest-of-its-kind composting facility in Canada

For years, residents living near the facility have complained about the smell.

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Roxanne Taylor says it’s been so awful that she and her husband are considering moving.

“Horrible. It’s this putrid kind of swampy smell. We have young kids. You can’t go in the backyard. You can’t exercise. You can’t take the dog for a walk. It’s every unpleasant.”

Craig More, with the city’s waste and recycling department, says it’s hoped this expansion might prevent bad smells from being passed on because of new anaerobic consumption technology.

“The expansion certainly will not make any further odors or make any odors worse from this facility,” he said.

“The new process is going to be totally enclosed so all that air is going to be captured and treated and it will be turned into renewable natural gas.”

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Click to play video: 'Expansion to Calgary’s composting facility sees costs balloon 75%'

Expansion to Calgary’s composting facility sees costs balloon 75%

As for going well over budget, Ward 12 Coun. Evan Spencer says it’s a new reality for capital projects.

“We are trying to deliver with 2015 money to 2024 transportation project in the Green Line. That’s going to be a difficult conversation, we already know that.”

But Spencer says this is one investment that will pay off for Calgarians.

“It’s obviously a big hit but when you make these kinds of investments, you have to think long-term about the benefit to Calgarians and what they will get back in the other direction. This facility is adding an awful lot to the quality of life for Calgarians.”

&© 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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