Eastern Waste Management pulls proposal

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Cabin owners applaud decision

Cabin owners and residents in the Peak Pond and Reids Pond area were more relaxed, and in some cases celebrated, as word of an Eastern Waste Management decision reached them over the weekend.

 The waste management auth­ority pulled its proposal for a waste transfer facility about 8 1/2 kilometres along the Trans-Canada Highway from Whitbourne, not far from Peak Pond.

The proposal was in the middle of environmental assessment and the latest decision has effectively killed the site development, unless the waste management authority files a new proposal at a later date. An environmental review would still be required.

“We’re glad that they did (pull the project),” said Jamie Neville, a cabin owner who first heard about the plan for the facility by word of mouth. “Everybody’s pretty reliev­ed in the area.”

If cleared, the facility would have handled bulk-garbage dropoffs, as opposed to daily household garbage. It would be the ninth and final such facility established by Eastern Waste Management for meeting the goals of the province’s waste management strategy.

There were a few extras included for the waste management authority at the site near Peak Pond, including the addition of a small vehicle depot and the possibility of a composting test facility.

The Telegram contacted Eastern Waste Management Wednesday about its decision and was told board chair Ed Grant was not available for comment, although he may follow up in the days to come.

Regardless of the reasoning, property owners who had concerns about the facility “breathed a sigh of relief,” said cabin owner Lex Hudson.

“As you can appreciate, we have all invested time, money and energy into our properties in the area and would hate to have seen such a pristine location be used for such a facility,” he stated in an email.

Hudson said he believes public opposition to the project played a part in Eastern Waste Management’s decision not to push it forward.

“There was a concerted effort to make sure this was kept to the forefront and the pressure was on,” said Liberal MHA Paul Lane, who shared Hudson’s belief.

Lane was part of the opposition to the project as it was proposed. His letter to the editor, headlined “Find a better location,” was published in The Telegram May 24. Citing constituents with properties in the Peak Pond and Reids Pond area, he also raised the topic on radio call-in shows and presented petitions against the project in the House of Assembly, speaking at least seven times there on the topic.

Liberal MHA Tom Osbourne, who has a cabin near the area, also spoke out against the proposed facility.

Public comments on the proposed waste transfer facility were accepted by the provincial Department of Environment in February and March.

In May, then-Environment minister Joan Shea asked for further information from Eastern Waste Management, in the form of an environmental preview report — more detailed documentation than was required for the original project registration.

According to Lane, work completed by Eastern Waste Management around the proposal, including the cost of the initial registration document, should have come after a clear period of public consultation with property owners in the area.

“I think they should have consulted with the people there to begin with, but the bottom line is that I guess the process worked from the perspective that the public pressure worked,” he said.

The provincial minister responsible for public engagement, Steve Kent, took to Twitter following the Eastern Waste Management decision.

“Thanks to those who expressed their views,” he posted.

Also minister of Municipal Affairs, Kent later responded to questions on the subject, suggesting an as-yet unseen study on composting, commissioned by government, led to the death of the project as it was proposed.

However it chooses to proceed, the provincial government “will continue to work with Eastern Waste Management to undertake planning and infrastructure development for the eastern region that will support the further rollout of the provincial solid waste management strategy,” Kent said.



Organizations: Waste Management, Trans-Canada Highway, Department of Environment

Geographic location: Whitbourne

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Recent comments

  • Tammy
    January 25, 2016 - 15:53

    I too am a cabin owner with no electricity or running water and I am forced to pay this 180 dollar fee which we also bring a little bit of garbage back to st john's I think eastern waste management is taking advantage of people..

  • Tammy
    January 25, 2016 - 15:52

    I too am a cabin owner with no electricity or running water and I am forced to pay this 180 dollar fee which we also bring a little bit of garbage back to st john's I think eastern waste management is taking advantage of people..

  • Tracey
    July 04, 2014 - 12:44

    Is anyone in government prepared to comment on the imposition of a garbage pick up (“waste management”) tax for seasonal cabin owners in Deer Park, Spread Eagle and other similar areas? This service is not needed by the majority (91%), who spend as little as a few days to a few weeks each year at their cabins, yet is going ahead starting Monday, July 7 at an initial cost of $180 per dwelling per year. No doubt this cost will increase in subsequent years. During the past year, a committee of concerned Deer Park residents (i.e. all dwelling owners – not to be confused with permanent residents) was established to determine if there is a need for such a service. This committee reported its findings in a meeting at the Wilds on June 14, to which government and Eastern Waste Management staff were invited, but did not attend. At that meeting, the committee spokesperson indicated that surveys were distributed to all cabin owners in the park, with a response rate of over 80% – a phenomenal response rate by any standard and very indicative of how seriously park residents view this issue. According to the committee spokesperson, the overwhelming majority of respondents, 91%, indicated that they have no need for waste management services, as they currently bring their garbage to their home municipalities to be picked up with their other household waste – a service for which they already pay taxes. Only 9% of permanent residents – those who do not pay taxes to any municipality – voted for regular garbage pick up, with the cost of this service to be spread out among all cabin owners, regardless of use. Breakdown of cabin owners by municipality: St. John’s 240 Mount Pearl 60 Conception Bay South 46 Holyrood 43 Paradise 38 Deer Park 43 Total 470* *Numbers provided by committee spokesperson. The bottom line: Starting Monday, July 7 a contractor hired by Eastern Waste Management will travel throughout Deer Park, to pick up garbage from approximately 43 permanent residents, while passing by approximately 427 empty cabins with no garbage to be picked up. The results: Regular weekly wear and tear by a large truck on dirt roads that are already in a bad state due to weather and heavy ATV use (that’s another issue for another day!) Additional Green House Gas emissions by this same truck to not only travel through the park each week, but also take whatever garbage they get from the minority 9% and bring it to Robin Hood Bay in St. John’s . More garbage in our ditches along the TCH between Salmonier Line and St. John’s (from loose paper/cardboard and other debris flying off the truck on its weekly run to St. John’s). Additional wear and tear on the TCH, adding to the dangerous ruts that are already there. Additional stress and financial burden for the taxpayers of St. John’s, CBS, Mount Pearl, Holyrood and Paradise who already pay taxes to those municipalities to pick up their garbage each week and bring it to – you guessed it – Robin Hood Bay. In summary, the seasonal cabin owners of Deer Park are being forced to subsidize the minority who have chosen to live there tax free on a permanent basis. Quite simply put, this is wrong and should not be permitted. Alternative solution: The 43 permanent residents of Deer Park should bring their garbage to an agreed location on Salmonier Line for regular pick-up with other communities along Salmonier Line and pay a yearly tax to the appropriate municipality (Mount Carmel? St. Catherines?) to avail of this service. This will eliminate the unjust imposition of additional taxes to the seasonal cabin owners for a service that they don’t need and which many will not use, eliminate unnecessary wear and tear on Deer Park’s fragile road system and eliminate the additional GHG emissions that would be produced by the contractor travelling past empty cabins. I ask the leaders of all parties to please provide a cogent and reasonable response to this issue before the next election. Thank you.

    • B. Corbett
      August 05, 2014 - 16:51

      Cabin owners on the Whitless Bay Line also got the same notification about garbage collection, from which no one is exemp unless your cabin is boarded up and deemed uninhabitable. I agree with everything you said. I don't live there, i bring my garbage home and am already paying for my residential garbage pick up. What are they trying to do? If i or anyone else leave garbage out, won't the wild animals get to it long before a garbage truck does? i'm am only at the cabin for a few weeks during the summer. in the winter there are plenty of times the paved road (which goes from Bay Bulls to the TCH) is impassable and is closed due to the weather. My cabin is on the dirt section of the road. I can't get to my cabin in the winter time. This makes no sense what so ever. It's just another way of getting money from the people. I would appreciate more information and/or response from both cabin owners and government officials. I really don't think much thought went into this. thank you