By the time the debris from tropical storm Leslie is cleaned up in the city of
St. John’s, the city’s three dropoff sites may well be filled with Christmas trees.
Paul Mackey, the city’s director of public works, told council Monday the department wasn’t able to rent the mulching machine from Corner Brook Pulp and Paper, which would have cost about $60,000.
“We had been discussing with Corner Brook Pulp and Paper trying to acquire their machine. Unfortunately, they had a lot of commitments they had to honour before the end of the year and they weren’t able to fit us into their schedule. So we had to look at the other alternatives,” Mackey said.
“So we looked at either bringing in a machine ourselves or engaging a contractor to bring in a machine from the mainland and I believe Thursday or Friday past we got that finalized.
“So we have a contractor engaged and they have the machine enroute as we speak,” he said.
It will probably be 10 days before the machine arrives in the city and is up and running, said Mackey, adding staff will start with chipping debris at Bowring Park.
When asked by councillors how much it will cost, Mackey replied it would cost $127,000, to which councillors said, “Wow.”
Mackey said the company has committed to having the work completed before Christmas, if all goes according to plan.
As a result of Leslie’s sweep through the province in September, the city’s three dropoff sites — Bowring Park, Wishingwell Park and the Boulevard — are completely overrun with splintered trees, branches and other storm debris. The cleanup has been hindered because the mulching machine from Corner Brook has been busy and the job is too big for the city’s smaller machine.
Mackey told The Telegram two weeks ago another alternative would be to drag all of the debris to the Robin Hood Bay landfill, but that was not the preferred option.
“It’s a huge task because the material is very bulky and it would require a lot of trips and a lot of effort. The preferred option is to grind it up and chip it on site to reduce the volume down to a very small percentage and handle it that way,” Mackey said.
“Cost is part of it, wear and tear on our vehicles, tying up our staff and all that unnecessary traffic through the city with all the truck trips and bulky material to deal with at the landfill.
“All around it’s just not a preferred option,” he said.
In the meantime, the city has asked residents to refrain from dumping leaves and other debris at the dropoff sites.