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Lacombe taxpayers have an opportunity to weigh in on whether the city should purchase a $500,000 HotRot composter. Hopefully many will tell council yea or nay.


The machine is touted as being able to break down plastic to a usable material, compost cardboard, yard waste, and kitchen waste. It’s also guaranteed to be odour free and leachate free.

Coun. Grant Creasey, at the May 6 committee meeting, scoffed that it sounds too good to be true.

Coun. Peter Bouwsema brought up an interesting question. He asked – since the composter only works to a maximum of minus 15 – how would the city use the machine when the temperature dips down to minus 20 or 30. Administration assured council that this wouldn’t be an issue as the material would just be stored until warmer temperatures prevailed.

But that question makes one wonder whether a machine designed and built in New Zealand could, over time, withstand Alberta’s notorious cold winters.

And what about maintenace of a unit purchased from another continent? This became an issue with the boilers at the Lacombe Memorial Centre (LMC). The boilers were purchased from another country and installed in 2006 as part of the LMC’s renovations. They’ve never worked properly and maintenance of them was difficult because they were purchased out of country. The city ended up having to budget $90,000 in its 2013 capital budget to replace the boilers.

Coun. Reuben Konnik brought up an interesting point as well. He mentioned the glass crusher the city bought a few years ago and said that nothing is being done with the end product (sand) from the crushed glass like the city claimed it would use. He questioned whether the city would use the end product from the HotRot.

Clearly more dialogue on this and other issues surrounding the HotRot is necessary.

After all, we don’t want this to end up like the city’s glass crusher fiasco, or its “Ferrari of boilers” administration admitted they wrongly agreed to buying and installing for the LMC.