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West Coast Reduction

If you’ve ever been down on the south shore of Vancouver Harbour on an inopportune afternoon during our warmer months, you may have wondered who, or what, is responsible for the olfactory assault that slaps across your face
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A smell so putrid that it has inspired its own local Facebook enemy group called “Stop the Stink”.  But behind this odour is something of a much sweeter scent; the recycling of waste into profit and environmental benefits

West Coast Reduction, established in 1964, grew from a family owned butcher shop into Vancouver’s first rendering and storage plant. The plant, located on a section of Vanterm Container Terminal, processes animal waste, guts, fish heads, feathers, etc., through an evaporation process called rendering. The resultant bi-products are used in the making of fuels, lards, soaps, rubber and plastics

WCR now recycles on average, approximately 1 billion pounds of raw material and 62 million pounds of used cooking oil every year in Western Canada (including plants in Calgary, Alberta, Lethbridge and Saskatoon). This has the same effect on our greenhouse gas emissions as removing approximately 150,000 cars from the road each year

But beyond the rendering and recycling; WCR now also plays a significant role in the export of Canadian canola oil; a role they are looking to increase. The site, already one of Canada’s largest canola oil storage hubs with 83,000 metric tonne tank capacity, is responsible for approximately 20 per cent of Canada’s total canola oil export capacity and 50 per cent of exports to markets in the Asia-Pacific region annually

In 2014 and 2015, the company completed a $9.5-million expansion of its shipping terminal, increasing canola oil handling capacity by 25 per cent via upgrades to its rail lines and  piping system that transfers canola oil to ships on dock.  The plan was, over the next several years, to further increase their tank capacity by another 72,000 metric tonnes. But here is where they are stalled

The parcel of land on which West Coast Reduction operates is leased through Port Metro Vancouver. The lease periods have previously been for 25 years, with the current deal due to expire in 2026. Traditionally the company has renewed the lease with the port approximately 10 years in advance of expiry. This time however the port is unwilling to make the same commitment

The issue for Port Metro Vancouver is the ongoing delay to the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 container project, just south of Vancouver Harbour.  This project is currently stalled at the federal government level as they review the potential environmental impacts. At this time the Ministry of Environment is awaiting further information from the port before they determine the ultimate fate of the project

Until that time, the port plans to hold back on a long term commitment to WCR. Their plan is to potentially keep the space as a contingency in order to expand container shipping operations in Vanterm , if the Roberts Bank project is ultimately rejected. Without the Roberts Bank expansion, the port’s position is that they will need the extra space at Vanterm to increase their overall container capacity to meet the increasing volume of containers moving through the port

This unfortunately creates a Catch-22 for WCR, who cannot commit the money for their continued upgrades to site and storage when faced with the possibility of having to vacate the site in 2026