Guide to the Preparation of Regional Solid Waste Management Plans by Regional Districts
Part 3: Procedures for Developing and Adopting Regional Solid Waste Management Plans
This part describes the procedural requirements to be met and the steps to be followed by regional districts in preparing and adopting a regional solid waste management plan or undertaking a major amendment to an existing plan, in accordance with Part 2. For the remainder of this part, "plan" will include a major plan amendment.
The flow charts labelled Figures 1, 2 and 3 show the sequence of steps described in the sections which follow.
39. Decision to Prepare a Regional Solid Waste Management Plan
(1) The first step in the preparation of a plan occurs when the regional district formally resolves to initiate the planning process and defines the plan area. If a regional board committee dealing with solid waste management issues is not already in existence, the regional district is encouraged to establish such a committee and assign to it the role of Steering Committee for the RSWMP.
(2) With two exceptions, the plan area should include the whole of the regional district, as required by Section 16(2) of the act. The first exception is specified in section 16(2) which allows one regional plan to include all or a portion of an adjacent regional district, with its agreement.
(3) The second exception is where there is urgent need for a solid waste management plan for a
sub-region of a regional district. For instance, a portion of a regional district, including a member municipality, may generate a significant portion of the regional waste stream and is ready to begin reduction and recycling programs far in advance of the rest of the district, or needs approval of a plan in order to raise funds for a necessary program or facility.
(4) In such cases, the minister may approve the plan, provided the sub-regional plan is in accordance with Part 2 of this guide; the regional district adopts the plan as its interim plan for the sub-region, to be in effect only until the regional plan is approved; and the regional district commits to preparation of the regional plan according to a schedule which is acceptable to the minister. Preparation of the sub-regional plan will not be directly eligible for the Solid Waste Management Planning Financial Assistance Program, but the sub-regional costs may be included in the subsequent application under that program for the regional plan.
(5) It may also be desirable for a regional district to join with one or more neighbouring regional districts to take advantage of economies of scale for certain solid waste management facilities, programs or processing equipment. In particular, adjoining regional districts should consider setting up an inter-regional system for the collection, processing and marketing of recyclables. The two associations involving the Southern Interior and Vancouver Island regional districts are excellent examples of such cooperation, and the ministry encourages cooperative marketing programs in other regions of BC. The 1992 Discussion Paper, "Cooperative Marketing: A Strategy for British Columbia's Recyclables", is a useful starting point in the establishment of such an association.
40. Notification of Provincial Agencies, First Nations and Private Site Owners
(1) As part of the first step in the planning process, a copy of the regional district resolution referred to in Section 39 is to be sent to the manager, with copies and a covering letter also sent to the following:
(a) Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries — District Agriculturist;
(b) Ministry of Health Services — Medical Health Officer;
(c) A regional district adjacent to the plan area;
(d) Ministry of Community, Aboriginal and Women's Services— Local Government Department, Victoria;
(e) B.C. Parks — Regional Director;
(f) Ministry of Small Business and Economic Development — Victoria;
(g) Ministry of Finance — Victoria;
(h) First Nations within or adjacent to the plan area; and
(j) Owners of private sites or facilities in the plan area involved in the storage or processing of recyclable material or the management of municipal solid waste.
(2) The cover letter letter should ask for confirmation of the wish to be involved in the planning process from each of the above agencies or persons, including membership on the technical advisory committee described in Section 10, and for any concerns or comments on the proposed plan area. The letter should ask for a response directly to the regional district within 60 days, with a copy to the manager. The letter should also request that any special considerations the recipient wishes to see addressed by the plan and any information which the recipient thinks may be useful in preparing the plan be sent to the regional district as soon as possible, with a copy to the manager.
41. Design of Public Consultation and Review Process (PRCP)
(1) The second step in the planning process is to design the PRCP required by Section 16.2(1) of the Act. Subsection 16.2(2) specifies that the plan shall not be approved by the minister unless the minister is satisfied that there has been adequate public review and consultation. An adequate PRCP is defined as one which is substantially in accordance with the principles in 8(2), which are repeated below:
(a) public involvement begins as early in the planning process as possible and continues through to the implementation and monitoring of the plan;
(b) the public is given the opportunity by the regional district to be involved in designing the public review and consultation process;
(c) as wide a range of interests as possible is involved;
(d) pertinent information is openly exchanged between the public and the regional district and between advisory committees;
(e) public responses are given open consideration by the regional district and, where appropriate, addressed in the planning process, and the decision on the response is conveyed to the person who submitted the response; and
(f) proceedings and results of activities which are part of the public review and consultation process are properly documented and available for public scrutiny.
(2) manager will review the regional district's proposed PRCP and may recommend changes to ensure it is in compliance with the above requirements.
(3) The intention of paragraphs (1)(a) and (b) is to avoid the negative reactions that are generated in people who perceive that important decisions have been made before they are allowed to be involved, and to ensure that there is a sense of ownership of the PRCP by the residents of the plan area. As well, certain members of the public may be able to contribute considerable public communication skills toward achieving a creative PRCP. While much of the public input on the design of the PRCP can be obtained from members of the public committee, the regional district should create the opportunity for other community voices to be heard.
(4) The intention of paragraph (1)(c) is to avoid the situation where the planning process is side-tracked or even derailed at a late stage because an important group has been left out or feels left out of the process. It is especially important in this regard to include groups which may have views opposite or hostile to the regional district's position or the views of other stakeholders. While their inclusion does not guarantee consensus, their exclusion virtually guarantees future problems, and may result in the plan's approval being delayed if the minister believes that the excluded group represents an important element of the plan's stakeholders.
(5) The intention of paragraph (1)(d) is to ensure that the advisory committees do not operate in isolation from each other and that recommendations or decisions are based on the best available information.
(6) The intention of paragraphs (1)(e) and (f) is to ensure an open process and that the regional district is perceived by the public to be accessible and listening. A PRCP which merely accepts public responses and then consistently ignores them will quickly generate public frustration. The regional district should therefore establish early in the process a clear reporting format for public input which enables the public and advisory committees to see the acceptance, the consideration and the judgement of their responses.
(7) The ministry believes that within the framework established by Section 8 hereof, each regional district will have the flexibility to determine the actual details of how the public is involved, according to the unique blend of population characteristics and information channels in the region. The ministry maintains that the approach outlined above will not only satisfy the requirements of the act but will promote broad acceptance of the plan. The PRCP described above is proactive rather than reactive and requires a flexible approach to plan development. If properly and sensitively undertaken, such an approach, in combination with an emphasis on the first 3Rs rather than on residual disposal, should reduce the Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) syndrome.
42. Consultation with First Nations
(1) As some regional districts have discovered, sending a letter of invitation or notice to a First Nations organization usually does not produce the same results as a corresponding letter sent to a community or non-profit group.
(2) Before offering to consult with First Nations within or adjacent to the boundaries of the regional district, the appropriate person to contact should be determined. If a Native Liaison Officer is part of the ministry's regional staff, that person should be able to provide the names of all First Nations within the plan area as well as the appropriate contact person for each. It is important to realize that the list of contacts changes frequently.
(3) An excellent resource to complement the regional Native Liaison Officers is the relevant Regional Coordinator in the Aboriginal Initiatives Branch, Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs. This office can also advise regional districts about the provincial approach and policy regarding the relationship between First Nations and the Province.
(4) Once sent, the letter should be followed with a telephone call and an offer to meet with, or make a presentation to, the council or appropriate committee.
(5) In the event of an issue involving a First Nation that cannot be resolved through consultation and negotiation at the regional district level, the regional district may request assistance through the manager and/or the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and through them, the federal Department of Indian and Northern Affairs.
43. Establishment of Advisory Committees
(1) The next step in the planning process is the creation of the advisory committee structure specified in Part 2, representing the various interest groups, geographic areas and stakeholders in the community, plus those provincial agencies and First Nations who have indicated a desire to be involved in the planning process. This step should be taken in time to enable at least the public advisory committee to take part in designing the PRCP. Part 2 calls in most cases for the establishment of two committees - the public advisory committee emphasizing community and non-profit interests and the technical advisory committee emphasizing government interests. Both committees should have representation from large waste generators and the waste management industry to complement the primary influence.
(2) In some regional districts, a single committee, with or without subcommittees, may be most suitable, subject to approval of the manager. What is important is the creation of an advisory committee structure which satisfies section 8(2), is functional and allows for efficient and expeditious review and response.
(3) The intent of Part 2 is the creation of advisory committees which are independent from the regional district, with both committees reporting to the regional board or its steering committee. Section 14 provides for no more than one director on each committee, in order to ensure liaison with the political process without turning the advisory committee into a de facto committee of the regional board. The ministry does not intend that the advisory committees control the planning process, nor does Part 2 or the act eliminate the authority of the regional district to make decisions on public recommendations. In this respect, a regional district's public involvement process will be considered adequate if the regional district has sincerely sought and reflected upon public opinion, has made its decision on the public response known to the person or group providing the response and its decision-making was open and did not unfairly and consistently discriminate against specific stakeholders.
(4) This guide has already commented on the need for the regional district to establish clear mechanisms for referring matters to and receiving reports from the advisory committees. Part 2 also recommends that strong linkages be provided between the two committees to avoid feelings or perceptions of isolation and to minimize the potential of one committee submitting a report which in part or whole is unacceptable to the other.
44. Public Advisory Committee
(1) The public advisory committee (PAC), primarily representing community, labour and non-profit interests, is a key component of the public review and consultation process. The ministry is aware that even with a well-designed PRCP, it may be difficult to generate significant interest in the general public, especially in the early stages of the planning process before there is definite information available. That makes it even more important that the PAC be composed of a wide range of public and private interest groups.
(2) Since the essence of the eventual solid waste management plan is a change in the attitudes and daily practices of ordinary people, the membership of the committee should reflect the character of the community in terms of gender, race, age, and income/education level. The membership should also include technical expertise in the form of the waste management and planning staff of the regional district and member municipalities. The ministry is aware that the number of committee members should normally not exceed about 15 in order to ensure effective functioning. A creative solution is required to strike an appropriate balance between this need and the need to provide wide representation. One possibility is the creation of a PAC for each of several sub-regions of the plan area.
(3) The purpose of the PAC is to provide recommendations and advice to regional district staff and consultants on policy issues, including identification of options to be considered by the planning studies and design of the PRCP. It will also provide review at various stages and of various elements/outputs of the planning process, including environmental guiding principles, draft terms of reference, stage reports and the plan itself.
(4) In some cases, such as reviewing minor amendments to a PRCP, stage report or plan, the requirement for public review may be satisfied by PAC review, if the manager concurs.
45. Technical Advisory Committee
(1) The technical advisory committee (TAC) should be established early in the planning process, primarily to reflect local government, provincial government and First Nation interests. The purpose of this committee is to provide technical evaluation and advice to regional district staff and consultants, including identification of options to be considered, and review of the same elements and outputs of the planning process as the PAC.
(2) The intent of Section 11(2) in Part 2 is to ensure that the output of both the PAC and the TAC is regarded with equal weight by the regional district. In other planning matters, the equivalent to the TAC usually has and is perceived by the public to have much greater influence on the regional district's decision making. In solid waste management planning, non-technical issues are probably more important than technical issues, as reflected in the first 2Rs of the hierarchy where attitudinal change is the essential element.
46. Development of Environmental Guiding Principles
(1) Immediately following the creation of the advisory committees, the environmental guiding principles for the plan are to be developed and finalized in consultation with the advisory committees. The purpose of these principles is to provide a framework for development of plan policies and strategies and to act as a guide in the implementation and amendment of the plan. As noted in section 27, every plan policy and strategy should be in accordance with at least one, and should not contravene any, of the principles specified in section 16.
(2) Once the principles are reviewed by the public and approved by the regional district and the ministry at the end of Stage 1 of the planning process, ministry staff as well as all those at the regional district level will be both inspired and constrained by the principles. For its part, the ministry has offered the principles described in section 16 as ones it can support for the solid waste management planning process, and expects each regional district to adopt environmental guiding principles which are essentially similar to those listed in section 16.
47. Organization of Planning Studies
The next step in the planning process is to prepare the terms of reference (ToR) for the planning studies to be undertaken by regional district staff and/or consultants in accordance with the two stage process specified in Part 2. Part 4 of this guide provides direction on the level of detail and analysis to be included in these planning studies. The regional district may choose to prepare one set of ToR, and select one consultant to undertake the various planning studies and preparation of the plan itself, or it may wish to call for proposals for each stage of the process. It may also have the staff resources to undertake part or all of a planning study itself. In either of the first two cases, and with appropriate modification for the latter case, the procedure is as follows:
draft ToR are prepared by regional district staff;
draft ToR are reviewed by PAC and TAC;
final ToR are prepared by regional district staff;
a Call for Proposals is issued by the regional district;
proposals are evaluated by PAC and TAC, with their recommendations forwarded to the steering committee; and
a consultant is selected by the regional district.
48. Application for Financial Assistance
Whether regional district staff will prepare the plan or the regional district selects a consultant to do the work, the regional district should make an application to the manager for financial assistance under the Solid Waste Management Planning Financial Assistance Program, once a detailed work plan for the planning studies is available.
49. Stage 1: Solid Waste Management System and Options
(1) Stage 1 analysis involves the description of the existing solid waste management system, including the organizing and evaluating of available information and the identification of information gaps to be addressed at Stage 2. It also involves identifying various solid waste management options and recommending those which should be subjected to detailed evaluation in Stage 2. Part 4 of this Guide provides direction on the type and level of analysis required and the identification and evaluation of options.
(2) Stage 1 begins with a regional district resolution authorizing staff and/or a consultant to conduct the necessary planning study or studies. The subsequent process is similar to that in Section 47 with the addition of public review, as follows:
Stage 1 study is conducted and a draft report is prepared
the draft report is reviewed by TAC and PAC, then by the manager;
the final draft report is prepared, incorporating the results of the review process, and presented to the regional district;
the regional district authorizes review of the final draft by the public;
the final Stage 1 Report is prepared, incorporating the results of the public review process, and presented to the regional district;
the regional district accepts the Stage 1 Report and submits it to the manager for ministry review and approval;
following ministry approval and authorization to proceed to the next stage, the Stage 1 Report is amended, if required, and approved by resolution.
(3) Where an agency invited to participate in the planning process under section 40 has not done so, the regional district, in consultation with the manager, should now write to those agencies and advise of any potential impacts on their mandate or interests which have been identified in the Stage 1 Report. The letter should stress the importance of receiving input from the agency as soon as possible, because of the difficulty of dealing with a required change in a policy or strategy once considerable work and public consultation has taken place.
50. Stage 2: Evaluation of Options
(1) Stage 2 is entered following successful completion of Stage 1 by a resolution of the regional district which directs its staff and/or consultant to prepare detailed evaluations of the solid waste management options recommended in Stage 1. If a new consultant is involved, or if major amendments are necessary to the terms of reference established earlier in the process (see Section 47), the resolution will direct the preparation of new draft ToR, followed by the same procedure described in Section 47.
The procedure for conducting the Stage 2 study and obtaining approval of the Stage 2 Report is exactly the same as for Stage 1, with the final step being a resolution to proceed to Stage 3.
(2) The Stage 2 report will recommend a set of strategies which are in keeping with Part 2, and identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of those strategies. The report will also recommend plan implementation measures. These may include bylaws, together with recycler, hauler and/or waste stream management licenses, if desired, which set fees as well as administration and operating requirements for waste haulers and for specified sites and facilities. The report should recommend the general operating requirements that will form the core of the operational certificates (OCs) for those private and public facilities that manage municipal solid waste.
51. Stage 3: Plan Preparation and Adoption
(1) The resolution initiating Stage 3 will direct staff and/or a consultant to prepare a plan which complies with Part 2, particularly sections 29-32, including the provisions for implementing the various parts of the plan and monitoring its effectiveness in achieving its stated reduction goals.
(2) Once prepared, the draft plan will be reviewed by the advisory committees, then by the manager, and the final draft, incorporating any changes, prepared for review by the public. After incorporating any changes resulting from this phase of the public review process, the regional district will approve the plan in principle and submit it to the Minister of Environment, Lands and Parks in accordance with section 33. A copy of that package along with five (or the number specified by the manager) copies of the plan is to be sent to the manager. Following a request from the minister, the manager will forward the final review and recommendation for consideration by the minister.
(3) If the minister is satisfied that the plan is in accord with the act and Part 2 hereof, the submitted plan will be approved by the minister. The approval letter will also direct the regional district to consult with the manager regarding the issuance of operational certificates for specified sites or facilities in accordance with the approved plan.
52. Plan Implementation
(1) Following final adoption of the plan, the regional district and its member municipalities will proceed with the implementation measures contained in the plan. The 1992 amendment to Section 16(10) of the act eliminated the need for a regional district with an approved plan to obtain the consent of the electors in the plan area for a plan implementation by-law, including a by-law which raises funds or allocates cost. As noted earlier, the ministry believes that this provision also applies to a municipal bylaw intended to implement a regional plan.
(2) Under the 1989 amendments to the Municipal Act, letters patent are no longer necessary for the preparation of solid waste management plans or providing solid waste management services. The cost of preparing solid waste management plans may be recovered through the general service provisions of section 787(d). General services do not require an establishing bylaw or voter consent, but the costs should be apportioned among all municipalities and electoral areas in accordance with section 808(3).
(3) To raise funds for implementing an approved plan, a regional district could adopt one or more local service establishment bylaws under section 788(1)(c.1) of the Municipal Act for the area covered by the regional plan. In the absence of an approved solid waste management plan, local service establishment bylaws should receive some form of assent of the electors. The minimum requirement is proper notification and no more than 5% of the electors petitioning against the bylaw. If the plan were approved under the act, the bylaw would still require the approval of the Inspector of Municipalities, but would no longer require the assent of the electors.
(4) A regional district wishing to exercise the power conferred by section 16(10) of the act should identify its intention of doing so in the latest version of the plan which has been reviewed by the public. As a minimum, the plan should identify the sites which will be subject to a license or other control and the rationale and formula for any fees which will be charged.
(5) If, as a result of the ministerial approval or final regional district approval, substantive changes are required to any operational certificate, preparation of the final operational certificate should include review by the TAC and PAC, or by their successor, the plan monitoring committee established in accordance with section 35 hereof.
Figure 1: Stage 1: Waste Management System / Options
Figure 2: Stage 2: Evaluation of Options
Figure 3: Stage 3: Plan Preparation and Adoption