City gives ReVenture thumbs up

by Andrew Batten

CHARLOTTE – The Charlotte City Council approved an amendment to its waste management plan Monday, Dec. 13, that gives Mecklenburg County the go-ahead to begin working on a contract with the developers of the proposed ReVenture Park.

Charlotte-based Forsite Development wants to build ReVenture Park, which would include a 40-megawatt biomass power plant on land owned by Clariant Corporation at Belmeade Drive and Mount Holly Road on the banks of the Catawba River. The power plant would burn the county’s garbage to create power.

But in order to allow Mecklenburg County to send its trash to ReVenture, an amendment to the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan was needed.

The plan directs where the county can send trash. The amendment allows the county to add ReVenture Park as an option for disposing of garbage. Currently the county sends waste to the Charlotte Motor Speedway Landfill in Concord. The county sends roughly 750,000 tons a year to the landfill operated by Republic Services.

And although the city council gave their approval, the final decision will rest with the Mecklenburg County Commission, who would have to approve a service agreement with ReVenture, Bruce Gledhill, the county’s solid waste management director, said.

“This is not fully vetted yet, and before the county votes on a agreement, Mecklenburg County Waste will be vetting the technology and working out contractual issues with ReVenture Park that will ensure that Mecklenburg County and its participating municipalities are protected both against operational and financial risk.”

Before the council made its decision, several residents spoke in favor of and in opposition to the ReVenture project. Alan Burns, a Charlotte resident who has been active in the environmental community since 2002, spoke in favor of the ReVenture project. He said he worked with other environmentalists to limit the amount of pollution at the medical waste incinerator in Matthews but supports ReVenture.

“Strangely I find myself in opposition to the environmental groups who oppose this because the more I learn about it, the more I’m in favor of incineration of waste to energy as a solution to our waste problem,” Burns said.

Environmentalists would like the community to send trash to neither landfills nor the ReVenture site, but that’s not feasible, he said.

“Being realistic we won’t be able to get down to zero waste in this decade so we have to do something with the waste we produce,” he said. “All of my research suggests that landfilling is the worse option because waste to energy can actually produce some energy and its less harmful to the environment.”

Katharine Mitchell, chairwoman of Citizens for a Healthy Environment, said she’s concerned with the lack of information from Forsite Development.

“From the beginning the ReVenture project has been nothing if not chameleon,” she said. “Our community has watched as plans have been brought forward and keep changing with too little information in a timely manner.”

The development company has not provided what kind of technology will be used, what permits must be sought or what companies will be used, she said.

Edna Chirico, who works as a consultant for Forsite Development, addressed concerns about a lack of information and community involvement. Forsite Development held community meetings in the Mountain Island area and Mount Holly in 2009. The development company will also hold a meeting at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 6 at Bull and Barrister Draft House, 3615 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road, for area businesses and a Jan. 13 meeting at Cook’s Memorial Presbyterian Church, 3413 Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road, at 7:30 p.m. for the entire community.

Bill Gupton, chairman of the central piedmont chapter of the Sierra Club, wanted to make sure the council was aware that there are 20 neighborhoods and 25 schools within a 3-mile radius of the ReVenture site.

“We want to make sure you are very comfortable in approving a plan to begin incinerating our garbage over the next 20 years. … If not I urge you to defer this decision or vote no,” Gupton said.

Did you like this? Share it:

Leave a Reply