For years now, residents of Whitbourne have typically been driving all the way to Robin Hood Bay in St. John's to dispose of bulk garbage.
But as of this past Saturday, a new waste recovery facility is in place to serve that town and many others within driving distance. The Whitbourne facility is located on Old Brigus Road.
"It's convenient actually for the whole surrounding area," said Whitbourne Mayor Hilda Whelan at the official opening event June 24. "It's a great facility. It brings employment to our town and we're quite happy to have it - as long as it's not unsightly."
The facility represents the 10th of its kind within Eastern Waste Management's service area. It will serve as a free drop-off site for residential bulk waste, including furniture, hot water tanks, electronics, mattresses, metals, tires and construction materials amongst other items.
Ed Grant, chairman for the Eastern Regional Service Board, told The Compass all sites for bulk garbage collection are strategically located.
In addition to handling resident bulk collection, the facility will eventually serve as a depot. One part-time employee is currently there for the 16 hours the site will open on a weekly basis, but once the depot is in place, a further dozen people will be based out of Whitbourne.
"When you consider our region is from Clarenville to St. John's, it's pretty strategically, centrally located," said Grant.
It took some time to find an appropriate site for the facility. According to Grant, it cost close to $500,000 to purchase the land. A fence still needs to be erected, and a building for the depot has not been built as of yet. Development of the site has cost $220,000.
Beyond serving as a means to allow people to reduce clutter in their homes, Grant recognizes the important environmental value linked to opening the facility. He acknowledged the fact many people continue to take old refrigerators and other large items, dump them at the end of a rural road and leave them there.
"Unfortunately, people still do that," he said. "But the easier we can make it and the closer we can make it to do this, that's our intent. Bring these sites to the various locations so that people are not going to be encouraged to throw it in the ditches."