A few dozen protesters gathered along Wallace Drive near Willis Point Road in Saanich Saturday to voice their displeasure with plans to expand the Hartland Landfill.
The group chose the location because it's where commercial garbage trucks are slated to go for access to the landfill in the near future, meaning they'll soon be sharing the road with recreational visitors to Mount Work Regional Park, Gowlland Tod Provincial Park and Willis Point.
Hugh Stephens is one of the directors of the Mount Work Coalition, a group that opposes the Capital Regional District's current plans to expand the landfill.
"We are trying to raise public awareness and bring to people's attention the CRD's plans, first of all, to move all the commercial dump traffic from Hartland Avenue - which is back there about a kilometre or so where it's been for the last 50 years - to this road, Wallace Drive, and to Willis Point Road," Stephens said Saturday.
He said the change to the traffic pattern, if implemented, could be irreversible, and it would mean roughly 300 trucks per day using the affected roads.
According to a recent report from the CRD on its solid waste management plan, more than 140,000 tonnes of garbage end up at Hartland every year, leaving the landfill on pace to reach capacity by 2045.
In response, the CRD plans to expand the landfill, though Stephens was quick to point out that the CRD board has not yet approved the proposal.
"We think that is the wrong solution," he said. "We accept the fact, of course, that we need to prolong the life of Hartland, but there are many ways of doing it, and digging a bigger hole is not the way to go about it."
The protesters feel there hasn't been any meaningful consultation on the plan, Stephens said, adding that incineration, gasification and waste reduction should all be on the table as alternatives to landfill expansion.
"What we'd like to see is to have an immediate freeze put on this plan to shift the traffic and then to take a further look at what the plans are for Hartland expansion," he said.