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Still many questions about regional waste management plan


For perhaps the first time since the move towards a regional waste management system began in 2002, community representatives from the western region were invited to gather in one spot for an informational session Thursday.

The issue has been a hot and contentious topic for years at the community council and joint council levels.

Thursday’s event brought together about 60 municipal councillors and local service district committee members to explain where the process is and where it is heading.

Corner Brook Coun. Josh Carey was wearing two hats at the information session, one as a city council member and the other as chairman of the Great Humber Joint Council. He said the most important thing community leaders, not to mention their residents, want to know is how much waste management is going to cost them when it is in full swing.

The number being tossed around is about $200 per household. That is not set in stone and is still a source of confusion and concern.

“That is the answer every municipality is looking for: what is the cost per tonne?” Carey said after the session. “And we’re still not getting that straight answer.”

The plan

The plan, as presented by the service board and the two consultants who were also on hand to answer questions Thursday, is to open six transfer sites throughout the western region. Solid waste from these sites will then be transported to the central Newfoundland waste management facility in Norris Arm.

The plan is to have three transfer sites — in Corner Brook, St. George’s and Burgeo — open in 2017. It will likely be the middle of 2018 before all six — including Hampden, Port aux Basques and Rocky Harbour — are open.

New information

There was some new information brought to light at the session for Carey. He had not heard anything before about the idea being considered to backhaul organic waste from the central site — where all solid waste from western Newfoundland will eventually end up — back to a composting facility in the western region.

Before he left the meeting early, Cox’s Cove Mayor Tony Oxford said it was time for the plan to get done so everyone could work together on it. His comments elicited a round of applause from the crowd.

Coun. Cynthia Downey of Stephenville Crossing also summed up the thoughts of many in attendance when she told the board representatives they need to make educating people about the strategy more of a priority.

“I’m sitting here and I’m listening and people are not aware of what things we can do as a town, what things can be done with our population to encourage our people,” she said.

Don Downer, the board’s chairman, agreed councils, committees and residents all need to be better informed. He said Thursday’s session was a good step to getting everyone on the same page.

“Obviously, we need to do this,” he said. “Not that we haven’t been doing it. It’s just that we didn’t do it on this scale.”

He said there are still some decisions to be made, but he hopes to eventually produce information brochures and booklets to be distributed to every community council, school and resident.

He noted the province’s Multi-Material Stewardship Board has indicated it would support that sort of educational initiative.

“It’s what I would call ramping up what we are already doing on a limited scale,” said Downer.

The issue has been a hot and contentious topic for years at the community council and joint council levels.

Thursday’s event brought together about 60 municipal councillors and local service district committee members to explain where the process is and where it is heading.

Corner Brook Coun. Josh Carey was wearing two hats at the information session, one as a city council member and the other as chairman of the Great Humber Joint Council. He said the most important thing community leaders, not to mention their residents, want to know is how much waste management is going to cost them when it is in full swing.

The number being tossed around is about $200 per household. That is not set in stone and is still a source of confusion and concern.

“That is the answer every municipality is looking for: what is the cost per tonne?” Carey said after the session. “And we’re still not getting that straight answer.”

The plan

The plan, as presented by the service board and the two consultants who were also on hand to answer questions Thursday, is to open six transfer sites throughout the western region. Solid waste from these sites will then be transported to the central Newfoundland waste management facility in Norris Arm.

The plan is to have three transfer sites — in Corner Brook, St. George’s and Burgeo — open in 2017. It will likely be the middle of 2018 before all six — including Hampden, Port aux Basques and Rocky Harbour — are open.

New information

There was some new information brought to light at the session for Carey. He had not heard anything before about the idea being considered to backhaul organic waste from the central site — where all solid waste from western Newfoundland will eventually end up — back to a composting facility in the western region.

Before he left the meeting early, Cox’s Cove Mayor Tony Oxford said it was time for the plan to get done so everyone could work together on it. His comments elicited a round of applause from the crowd.

Coun. Cynthia Downey of Stephenville Crossing also summed up the thoughts of many in attendance when she told the board representatives they need to make educating people about the strategy more of a priority.

“I’m sitting here and I’m listening and people are not aware of what things we can do as a town, what things can be done with our population to encourage our people,” she said.

Don Downer, the board’s chairman, agreed councils, committees and residents all need to be better informed. He said Thursday’s session was a good step to getting everyone on the same page.

“Obviously, we need to do this,” he said. “Not that we haven’t been doing it. It’s just that we didn’t do it on this scale.”

He said there are still some decisions to be made, but he hopes to eventually produce information brochures and booklets to be distributed to every community council, school and resident.

He noted the province’s Multi-Material Stewardship Board has indicated it would support that sort of educational initiative.

“It’s what I would call ramping up what we are already doing on a limited scale,” said Downer.

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