This Is Us

The Bow Valley Waste Management Commission (BVWMC) is an Alberta Regional Services Commission as defined by the Municipal Government Act. It was formed under Ministerial Order by the founding Members of the MD of Bighorn, Town of Banff and Town of Canmore to provide and support solid waste management services in the Bow Valley.

The Francis Cooke Landfill and Resource Recovery Centre, operated by BVWMC, receives approximately 80 percent of all waste material generated in the Bow Valley. This facility is an essential service for the local economy and is playing a major role in shifting the Bow Valley toward a modern, circular economy.

Waste management activities on the property proceed under an approval from the Government of Alberta as a Class III Landfill and Class II Compost Facility. The facility is approved to accept only dry, inert waste that does not undergo physical, chemical or biological changes that may cause an adverse effect on the environment.  With the exception of specialized industrial rock waste and excavated earthen material, we divert 75% of the waste we receive away from landfill disposal. A large portion of this waste comes from construction, renovation, and demolition activity. The compost facility is accredited under the Canadian Compost Quality Alliance and accepts the Bow Valley’s leaf and yard waste to produce topsoil for landscaping projects.

History

In 1999, BVWMC purchased the MD of Bighorn’s Dry Waste site east of Exshaw, and in 2000 assumed full operation of the renamed Francis Cooke Regional Class III Landfill. Two years later, an additional 36 acres of Landfill Expansion Lands was purchased from Alberta Public Lands, increasing the landfill area to 80 acres.

BVWMC expanded the Construction Renovation and Demolition (CRD) program in 2002 to deal with pressure treated lumber and reusable construction materials. In 2005, the Commission was honoured to receive the Rs of Excellence Award from the Recycling Council of Alberta for municipal recycling programs conducted at the Francis Cooke Regional Class III Landfill.

Through the continued expansion of our recycling program, the rate of waste diversion from landfill has reached over 70 per cent annually.

Our new landfill office and scale building incorporate 14 different sustainability elements, from our 20-kilowatt solar panel array feeding energy into the Alberta electrical grid to a biomass heating system providing energy for our heavy equipment shop and offices.

Board of Directors

BVWMC is directed by a Board of Directors appointed from the serving Councils of our three member municipalities. While conducting Commission business Board members serve the interests of the Commission. Current Board members are:

Hugh Pettigrew  (Town of Banff)
Karen Marra  (Town of Canmore)

Jennifer Smith  (M.D. Bighorn)
Jeff Mah  (Town of Canmore)

Joss Elford  (M.D. Bighorn)
Grant Canning  (Town of Banff)

Commission Meetings & Minutes

Board meetings are conducted in public and are normally held on the third Thursday of every month at 1 p.m. Written public submissions and requests for public delegations to a Board meeting must be submitted seven days in advance of the meeting. Please contact the Chief Administrative Officer for updates about current business being conducted by the BVWMC.

If you would like to observe a virtual Board meeting during these times of social distancing, please contact us at 403-673-2708 in advance of the meeting and provide your name and email address. We will share details of how to connect. For internet security reasons, any links to a virtual meeting are intended for the person to which they are provided. Electronic invitations and links may not be shared without permission of the Commission. Minutes of previous meetings are available on request.

NEXT BOARD MEETING: The Commission’s new Board of Directors will hold its first organizational meeting at 12:00 pm on Friday, December 3, 2021. Please contact us for details.

Historical Diversion Rates

BVWMC strives to be a leader in diverting construction, renovation and demolition (CRD) wastes from landfill disposal. Some materials diverted are shipped for recycling. Other materials are processed on our site to produce useful products for resale. We have achieved as high as 77 per cent diversion from the landfill and strive to continually improve recycling opportunities and cooperate with municipalities and industry partners when putting new practices in place. These resource recovery efforts help ensure responsible use of the landfill space and extend the lifespan of the Francis Cooke Landfill for the benefit of our members striving to achieve circular economies. Visit our Recovered Resources page for more details.

Environmental Protection

If not managed properly, landfilled waste can cause harm to wildlife, scatter litter across private and public lands, contaminate surface water, pollute ground water and create unnecessary greenhouse gasses and other emissions. Given the absence of a liner under the Francis Cooke Landfill, the close proximity of the Bow River and frequent windy conditions, it is essential that we take a precautionary approach to environmental protection.

Our landfill operation must be managed very carefully because the Bow River is only 400 meters away from the edge of the property. A network of monitoring wells has been installed to allow for regular monitoring of groundwater quality underneath and adjacent to the landfill.

Provincial parklands have been established on three sides of the property since the landfill began operations. Extended periods of high and gusty winds make litter management a challenge. Peak wind speeds between 70 and 120 kilometres are common between October and April, making it critical for our customers and staff to prevent fugitive litter if the facility is to continue operating.

Regulatory Oversight

Disposal of waste and recyclables is regulated by municipal, provincial and federal laws. The Francis Cooke facility must be operated according to these regulations and according to the conditions set out in the approval provided by the Government of Alberta. The facility is operated by staff who are required to hold professional certifications to operate landfills and compost facilities in Alberta.

Key regulatory and guidance materials relating specifically to waste and recyclables handled at the facility include:

  • Alberta Environmental and Protect ion Act and Regulations especially Alberta Activities
  • Designation Regulation
  • Alberta Municipal Government Act
  • Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations
  • Code of Practice for Energy Recovery
  • Code of Practice for Landfills in Alberta
  • Environmental Code of Practice for Compost Facilities in Alberta
  • Standards for Operating Compost Facilities in Alberta
  • Government of Alberta Guidance Materials on Acceptable Industry Practices
  • Standards for Landfills in Alberta.

Accomplishments

The Bow Valley Waste Management Commission has accomplishments in the following key program areas:

  • Financially self-sufficient Class III landfill and full-service resource recovery and processing operation.
  • Recycling drop-off for 16 different materials.
  • 70 percent diversion from landfill in 2020 and an average diversion rate of 60 percent maintained for the last 17 years. 
  • Completed system of regional transfer stations.
  • Construction, renovation and demolition waste tracking program service offered.
  • On-site processing into value-added products for materials such as wood, asphalt, concrete, yard waste, concrete, asphalt.
  • Regional Toward Zero Waste Special Event equipment supply service.
  • Regional municipal glass staging and recycling service. 
  • Landfill and scale office building incorporating 14 different sustainability elements.
  • Operation of heating system for heavy equipment shop and offices using energy derived from biomass.
  • Installation of 20-kilowatt solar panel array feeding energy into the Alberta electrical grid.

Job Opportunities

Want to join our team of leaders in construction material recycling? Inquiries can be made to:

Elizabeth Boak
Bow Valley Waste Management Commission
403-673-2708