Waste war

Steve
Steve Bartlett
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Concerns raised over new hazardous waste fees, system

Household Hazardous Waste Days have died a toxic death for some area mayors.

A grant they once received to offset the cost of collecting the worrisome waste has been replaced with a bill, one that unexpectedly arrived in late fall as municipal budgets were being crunched.

Woodrow French, mayor of Conception Bay South, says the invoice was a "substantial hit."

"We were spending approximately $25,000 a year to have that stuff picked up, and this year, it's going to cost us over $100,000," he says. "That's really difficult for municipalities when you are trying to get your budget in place and then find out this, at the last minute, that you've got to find extra money or cut something, reduce services or increase taxes."

Household Hazardous Waste Days have died a toxic death for some area mayors.

A grant they once received to offset the cost of collecting the worrisome waste has been replaced with a bill, one that unexpectedly arrived in late fall as municipal budgets were being crunched.

Woodrow French, mayor of Conception Bay South, says the invoice was a "substantial hit."

"We were spending approximately $25,000 a year to have that stuff picked up, and this year, it's going to cost us over $100,000," he says. "That's really difficult for municipalities when you are trying to get your budget in place and then find out this, at the last minute, that you've got to find extra money or cut something, reduce services or increase taxes."

Hazardous waste includes things like old paint, car batteries and fluorescent light bulbs. For years, the province's Multi-Material Stewardship Board (MMSB) provided some communities with a grant to help collect it. That was done through Household Hazardous Waste Days.

But, with a refurbished Robin Hood Bay able to accept the toxic trash, the MMSB is no longer providing the grants, which went to Mount Pearl, C.B.S., Paradise, Torbay and Portugal Cove-St. Phillips in 2009 and totalled $136,000.

Homeowners within a certain radius are now expected to take hazardous waste to the regional landfill themselves. And, through the bill from Eastern Waste Management that arrived just before budget time, municipalities are paying for their residents to have that privilege. The fee will continue annually.

Leigh Puddester, CEO of the MMSB, says the subsidies were an interim measure to ensure the risky refuse was disposed of properly until the right infrastructure was in place.

"It's a very dangerous waste stream and it was critically important that we do everything ... to get that stuff out of landfills and the municipalities," he says.

Ken Kelly, chairman of Eastern Waste Management, stresses councils are funding more than hazardous waste drop-off.

They also pay for their citizens' access to and use of the new residential garbage bins at Robin Hood Bay, he explains, noting the total price of both services is a little over $5 per person.

Kelly, whose committee was set up by the province in 2008 to oversee the evolution of waste management from Clarenville east, acknowledges disposing of household hazardous waste will be different than in the past.

He also believes it will be better, as Robin Hood Bay will accept it every Saturday from June to November.

"That's about 25 days that you have a service. That's a significant increase to the one to two days you might have had in the past," Kelly says.

French says the ironic thing is that residents are expected to drop the hazardous waste off themselves, and cities or towns who organize pick-ups will have to pay extra on top of the annual charge.

"It's counterproductive in that way," he says. "Certainly my understanding would have been we're paying our fee per year, then we should be allowed to do it our way, rather than having to do it the other way."

There is also a concern among mayors that people at the fringe of the catchment area won't make the trek to the dump and will instead toss it in the woods.

"We're talking about a 45-minute drive. It's not going to happen," says Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie, whose town received a hazardous waste bill of about $11,000 in November.

Kelly says the possibility of people dumping hazardous waste is always troubling, but he believes there'll be a better buy-in than some mayors do. A lot of people in the region make regular trips to St. John's, he says, and it's not a stretch to think they would do a drop-off while in the city.

"You're presuming that people don't want to participate," he says. "That's not quite true. From my experience, in the communities I've gone to, that I've met with, they are asking for this. (They ask) why has it taken so long to get this road? ... I'm willing to pay for it, just put it there, just give me the service."

Meanwhile, Puddester says the money the MMSB provided for hazardous waste days will be spent introducing the same type of program in new communities or on initiatives such as community composting.

"It's not just going to roll into a bank account or anything," he says. "It would be focused to reduce waste or educate the public."

Could the funding for the Eastern Waste Management committee be better spent and is the organization simply a buffer for government? See Monday's Telegram.

sbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Multi-Material Stewardship Board, Eastern Waste Management committee

Geographic location: Robin Hood Bay, Mount Pearl, Torbay Portugal Cove Clarenville St. John's

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Comments

Comments

Recent comments

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    Just do it the ...Newfie... way,drive 'da pickup inta da woods, an give 'er a toss.

  • Sam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    The wake up call is just starting for those bedroom communities mooching on the provincial government and St. John's. All these years all we've heard from our next door bedroom community leaders is that St. John's residents pay higher taxes. Well, to Mr. French and that fat loud mouth bigot in Mt. Pearl, now you know why ... Looks good on ya, so get used to paying your share LOL

  • Townie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    Looks more like the Province downloading costs on to the municipalities. I am sure that there are some areas that this will effect Sin John's also.

  • pat
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The province should do a study and see if theres some sort of department we can come up with or set up to help everyone, when it comes to dealng with enviromental issues in the province, so we can go forward, with someone, a person with real vision, always at the helm and who can address these problems with their own merit. We had a dept before but it took over the management of tire selfstorage for the province.

  • Rob
    July 02, 2010 - 13:26

    The Telegram's crack comment moderating team is at it again I see, fat loud mouth bigot .

    Really? One comment posted on an innocuous story about HHW and already we're calling Randy Simms ugly names? Is this what the Tely had in mind when it moderated the comments? You guys are embarrassing.

  • Sick of cowardly
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    Almost every comment I see posted are directed at hating someone or something. I wish everyone could walk a mile in the shoes of those they are hating on. Sam from NL you sound pretty mean but I bet you don't have the gaul to say what you just wrote to someone's face. I am not even going to bother reading the negative comment section anymore. Same old complaining, whiny, pessimistic attitude from people who think they know better. Get a life!

  • Sam
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    Sam from NL you sound pretty mean but I bet you don't have the gaul to say what you just wrote to someone's face.

    Ah, excuse me, this is coming from some called Sick of cowardly People from Paradise LOL

    To Rob: He is a fat loud mouth bigot .. That's life. Someone also commented last week that he was suffering from short person syndrome ...

    He is what he is and that's his doing, not mine ... He's also a mope LOL

  • Taxpayer ll
    July 01, 2010 - 20:25

    Just do it the ...Newfie... way,drive 'da pickup inta da woods, an give 'er a toss.

  • Sam
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    The wake up call is just starting for those bedroom communities mooching on the provincial government and St. John's. All these years all we've heard from our next door bedroom community leaders is that St. John's residents pay higher taxes. Well, to Mr. French and that fat loud mouth bigot in Mt. Pearl, now you know why ... Looks good on ya, so get used to paying your share LOL

  • Townie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    Looks more like the Province downloading costs on to the municipalities. I am sure that there are some areas that this will effect Sin John's also.

  • pat
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The province should do a study and see if theres some sort of department we can come up with or set up to help everyone, when it comes to dealng with enviromental issues in the province, so we can go forward, with someone, a person with real vision, always at the helm and who can address these problems with their own merit. We had a dept before but it took over the management of tire selfstorage for the province.

  • Rob
    July 01, 2010 - 20:14

    The Telegram's crack comment moderating team is at it again I see, fat loud mouth bigot .

    Really? One comment posted on an innocuous story about HHW and already we're calling Randy Simms ugly names? Is this what the Tely had in mind when it moderated the comments? You guys are embarrassing.

  • Sick of cowardly
    July 01, 2010 - 19:54

    Almost every comment I see posted are directed at hating someone or something. I wish everyone could walk a mile in the shoes of those they are hating on. Sam from NL you sound pretty mean but I bet you don't have the gaul to say what you just wrote to someone's face. I am not even going to bother reading the negative comment section anymore. Same old complaining, whiny, pessimistic attitude from people who think they know better. Get a life!

  • Sam
    July 01, 2010 - 19:51

    Sam from NL you sound pretty mean but I bet you don't have the gaul to say what you just wrote to someone's face.

    Ah, excuse me, this is coming from some called Sick of cowardly People from Paradise LOL

    To Rob: He is a fat loud mouth bigot .. That's life. Someone also commented last week that he was suffering from short person syndrome ...

    He is what he is and that's his doing, not mine ... He's also a mope LOL