VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The provincial government has approved Metro Vancouver’s controversial waste management plan, outraging communities in the Fraser Valley.

There is concern about air quality because the plan includes the option to build waste-to-energy plants, which burn garbage to make electricity.

Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz can’t believe the idea has been approved, noting that the provincial government and Metro Vancouver opposed the Sumas 2 plant in Washington State years ago, which would have burned natural gas.

“I cannot imagine why they would be looking at it today when we’re not talking about burning clean fuel, we’re talking about burning garbage, which is the most toxic, volatile, and unpredictable fuel source on earth,” she tells News1130.

The Sumas 2 plan was scuttled over air-quality concerns. Environment Minister Terry Lake says burning garbage is just an option.

“[Metro Vancouver] could consider waste-to-energy alternatives, both in the region and out of the region,” Lake says. “But importantly, what we’ve said, with the conditions that we’ve attached to this plan is that if there are in-region options being considered for waste-to-energy, that they must consult with the Fraser Valley authorities.”

Gaetz says there has already been a consultation process.

“Our concerns weren’t acted on, they pretended to listen, and they dismissed our concerns,” he says.

No incineration site has been approved at this time.

The waste management plan includes the goal of diverting 70 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s garbage through recycling, composting, and other programs by 2015, increasing to 80 per cent by 2020.