The Canmore Leader: Canmore adopts Towards Zero Waste events policy

The town of Canmore is continuing on the road to sustainability after adopting The Natural Step Framework in 2008. Canmore was the second Canadian community to implement The Natural Step’s community-wide engagement program. Read more about their journey in the case study here


By Hamish Maclean, The Canmore Leader. August 18, 2010.

Special events in Canmore will be moving towards zero waste.

Stemming from an Environmental Assessment and Review Committee suggestion in October 2009, council approved a Towards Zero Waste Event Policy Tuesday.

Special events in Canmore will now be asked to divert 70 per cent of "waste" from the landfill.

 However, Andreas Comeau the Town's manager of public works, pointed out in council chambers that many events in town are already exceeding the bar that council has now set.

"When you look at the numbers people aren't just shooting for 70 per cent, they're doing the best they can." Comeau said. He noted that many events in Canmore are already meeting or exceeding the policy.

He pointed to some of the success had by special events prior to the formal adoption of the policy.

The Canmore Folk Music Festival began a towards zero waste initiative before the Town's policy was created, diverting 81 per cent of waste from the landfill in 2008 and 86 per cent in 2009.

But Comeau said that the policy would be useful in "rolling out" the Town's adopted The Natural Step program to the community.

Special events — those that engage the public, make use of at least one Town department, or relies on the use or rental of Town facilities — will now be required to, when applying for an event, create a unique waste management plan to be approved by public works. Further event planners will also be required to complete a final waste management report, and the success of their waste management (or their lack of success) could affect future approvals of their event.

The Bow Valley Waste Management Commission's Peter Duck told council that he has been working closely with special events already to assist the events in reducing their load to the landfill. And noted that while currently there is no fee for the waste management commission's involvement at this time, the larger events have been advised that a cost recovery program could be implemented in the future.

Comeau told council that the implementation of a towards zero waste policy ought to be considered a good example of civic leadership — administration believes that there are at this point no other similar policies in other areas.

He also said that while not all events currently meet or exceed the bar established in the policy of diverting 70 per cent of the event's potential waste, all events move forward.

He pointed to the Town's Canada Day celebrations. In 2009, the Canada Day event saw 32 per cent of waste recovered as recycled material, while the 2010 Canada Day event saw 68 per cent of the waste diverted from the landfill. 

Source: The Canmore Leader