Eastern Waste Management working on final transfer facility

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Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Region well on its way to reaching end game in provincial plan

Eastern Waste Management is going through a provincial environmental assessment for its final, and ninth, waste recovery facility.

A map of the proposed site for the final transfer facility for Eastern Waste Management, which is still under environmental assessment.
— Image courtesy of Eastern Waste Management

The nine locations are all part of the plan for meeting the goals associated with the provincial waste management strategy. The facilities act as satellites to the main regional waste facility at Robin Hood Bay in St. John’s.

“The concept behind them has been to allow people throughout the region — because we’re servicing, really, out to Clarenville — we allow people in all the locations to have the same access as residents in (metro) have to Robin Hood Bay,” said Eastern Waste Management board chair Ed Grant.

The waste recovery facilities handle bulk garbage, as opposed to material from weekly household garbage collections.

The last recovery facility is being proposed for an area off the Trans-Canada Highway about 8.5 kilometres from Whitbourne and 5.5 kilometres from Blaketown, northwest of Peak Pond.

The rough plan for the site has been set out in a registration document for environmental assessment (EA), submitted to the provincial Department of Environment and available online. The plan is open to public comment until March 25.

“Up to now we haven’t had to do an EA because, generally, all the waste recovery facilities up until now have been put on what used to be old landfill sites, that type of thing,” Grant said.

Eastern Waste Management does not own the land near Whitbourne at this point, he added, but is negotiating for the property. Given that status and with the cost of the land unknown, he could not put a cost on the overall creation of the waste transfer facility, but said it would be in the area of several million dollars.

A few extras being planned for the Whitbourne location, to be established only after the transfer facility is operating, are expected to add to the price, if approved.

Since the property will be centrally located just off the main highway, the documentation filed with the province outlines the creation of a small depot at the site for trucks tasked with visiting the region’s various waste recovery sites.

The site may also be used as a composting test facility, though that project is still in the planning stages and not yet committed to by the regional authority.

“If it’s not there and we decided to do a test on that site, we’d have to do a second (EA),” Grant noted.

The latest report from the Office of the Auditor General detailed costs for the implementation of the province’s waste management strategy, including the creation of regional waste management boards, closure of teepee incinerators, the goal of ending the open burning of garbage and the aim to reduce waste going into landfills by 50 per cent.

The auditor general’s report was critical of timelines missed and cost overruns.

“Up to now, we’ve been pretty well spot-on on our numbers,” Grant said when asked about the report.

To March 31, 2013, according to information provided by the Department of Municipal Affairs to the auditor general, about $2.2 million had been spent on site closures in the Eastern Waste Management area alone as part of waste management strategy work. About $8 million had been paid out to that point for required studies and the development of interim disposal sites, with another $48.7 million spent on new, regional infrastructure, for a $59-million total.

Recovery sites such as Whitbourne are part of the infrastructure projects.

Other waste-management regions — there are 13 — are less advanced in their waste strategy work.

“We’ve had commitments from the province for the big one that we’re into now … the transfer station (in Clarenville), which is a slightly different animal,” Grant said. The province announced a $3 million spend on that project in July 2013.

The facility will handle household garbage and is expected to be active this summer.

“That’s the only transfer site we’re building,” he said.

“In terms of — I can’t speak to the West or Central’s costs, but certainly our costs, when we looked at it, we were well within the original numbers estimated. 

“So we’re quite comfortable this facility, the one in Whitbourne, which really would finish off us, our capital costs are in line with what we had estimated,” he said.

Grant said the expectation should not be that construction of the Whitbourne facility or the others will drive up costs for individual users by way of jumps in tipping fees.

“The rates have been stable for some time and, at this point in time, we’re quite comfortable to say once we put these eight or nine facilities in place, plus the transfer station, that within the tipping fee structure we’ve now got in place, and looking forward — frankly the tipping fee structure is on the low side of what we had anticipated,” he said.

“So, so far, so good.”

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

 

Waste management strategy spending

Spending on waste management strategy for Eastern Waste Management region, by fiscal year, including Department of Municipal Affairs forecast for spending through 2020.

2003-2007 — $39,000

2008 — $782,000

2009 — $23 million

2010 — $23 million

2011 — $3.8 million

2012 — $7.6 million

2013 — $367,000

            Total: $59 million

2014 — $256,000

2015 — $4.9 million

2016 — $10.8 million

2017 — $10 million

2018 — $0

2019 — $275,000

2020 — $0

            Total to 2020: $85.2 million

For province to 2020: $315.8 million

 

NOTE: All numbers rounded and as of March 31 each year. No data included beyond 2013.

(Source: Auditor General of Newfoundland and Labrador, Report to the House of Assembly on reviews of departments and Crown agencies, January 2014.)

 

 

 

Organizations: Waste Management, Trans-Canada Highway, Department of Environment Office of the Auditor General Department of Municipal Affairs

Geographic location: Whitbourne, Robin Hood Bay, Clarenville

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Recent comments

  • michelle neville
    February 27, 2014 - 13:50

    Again as a cabin owner too in Peak Pond we have had the opportunity to enjoy our weekends, swim in the pond as well as fish with our children. It's a HOME AWAY FROM HOME.. The issue i have is that there was NO PUBLIC CONSULTATION in any regards to this proposal. First time that myself and my husband first heard of it was through media. . It's dishearting to know that after all our hard work and pride we take into our cabins we didn't have a say in what happens only a few meters away. I'm all for recycling and creation of jobs but not 100% in agreeing to having rodents occupy our land and 'odors which according to the proposal document ' will not blow towards the existing cabin areas.." REALLY???? Basically our cabins will be worth nothing at the end of the day. I agree with Mr. Delaney's comment, with all the places on the island why put this in our back yard.

  • jerome delaney
    February 22, 2014 - 11:36

    As a cabin/landowner on Peak Pond I have trouble with this site proposal. Firstly it is on a pond that myself and 30 other cabin owners enjoy, how much waste will be blown into the pond and surrounding area, plus seepage into the pond from whatever they put there. Secondly, off all the crown land in the area why are we looking at buying this site, At present there are two cabins and a large out building on this site, the cabins are rarely used. This site was granted to a prominent family from Conception Bay almost 30 yrs ago to develop a camping park site, very little was done in that regard, other than the placement of the buildings I mention earlier. Now we are going to buy back the land we granted for free, when there are so many better free sites around in the same area. Is this a case of political pay back. Please don't ruin our back yard, when you could put it somewhere else for free and not bother anyone.