Skip to content

Vancouver-based company proposes compost processing plant in Burnaby

Anaconda Systems hopes to build a compost processing plant in Burnaby's Big Bend area.

A Vancouver-based clean tech company is hoping to build a “state-of-the-art” organic waste processing plant in Burnaby.

Anaconda Systems Ltd. asked Burnaby city council for an “expedient and streamlined permitting process” in building the facility at 5210 and 5280 Byrne Rd.

The plant would have the capacity to process 60,000 tonnes of organic waste, including food scraps and yard waste, Anaconda’s CEO and founder Russell Zishiri told council March 25.

Anaconda’s patented system uses aerobic digestion which can process the waste within 10 days to produce fertilizer.

The company has approval from its landlord BC Hydro to build at 5210 Byrne Rd., a 4.96-acre parcel that is part of the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR); Anaconda has a 20-year lease on the land.

The proposed site for a compost processing facility at 5210 Byrne Rd. in Burnaby. By Google StreetView

The company is also interested in pursuing an adjacent two-acre parcel owned by the City of Burnaby at 5280 Byrne Rd.

Zishiri said the company is seeking permits to allow processing technologies and vessels on the city-owned side.

Surveying, environmental and geotechnical analyses have found the project can be supported on the property, according to Zishiri.

Organic waste processing is a permitted, non-farm use under ALR rules, he said.

Anaconda has a similar facility in Vancouver, which has been operating since 2017, and Zishiri told council it hasn’t received a single odour or disturbance complaint.

The entire Burnaby facility, he said, would be enclosed.

Mayor Mike Hurley told the Burnaby NOW the project isn’t a replacement for the city’s own plans to build a compost processing facility.

(Last year, the city planned a 150,000-tonne-capacity compost processing facility dubbed GRO. The project was ultimately cancelled after public outcry over the controversial proposed location on sensitive wetlands, and GRO is on hold as staff search for another site.)

Hurley said Anaconda is putting forward the proposal on its own.

Asked if the Anaconda facility would process Burnaby’s green waste, Hurley said the city would have to agree on a contract with the company.

He said the city hasn’t yet discussed its interest in the project, though he and a few other councillors visited the Vancouver facility earlier this month.

“I went by to see their project and to see how it operated. It’s a different way of doing it. It’s worth looking at for sure.”

The NOW asked if he was optimistic about the Anaconda project.

“I’m on the fence,” he said.

Zishiri told the NOW the next steps are to “continue to work with (city) staff to get this going.”

He said the project could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the distance garbage trucks drive to transport waste.

“We’re really excited about the opportunity because we want to be conscious to the environment, to the circular economy,” he said.

Anaconda's organic waste processing facility in Vancouver. By Anaconda Systems