Composting study still unavailable

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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But information cited in reasoning for cancelled project

Long past its due date, with a cost that has grown to an unspecified point beyond the figure originally stated, it is still unknown when a study on composting from Dillon Consulting will be finalized and made available to the public.

Steve Kent.

Dillon Consulting was hired to look at viable options for dealing with organic waste in the province, under a $160,000 contract awarded in June 2013. The expected completion date was December 2013.

Earlier this year, asked about the report, Minister of Municipal Affairs Steve Kent said the initial piece of work was completed on schedule, but more information was requested after a report — referred to as a “draft report” — was submitted to the government.

“It was decided that, along with the content of the report, there were some other scenarios that needed to be considered in the analysis,” he said in February. “We suspect to receive a revised draft report by the end of March.”

He said there will be an additional cost to the public coffers from the added consultant’s work, but could not provide an estimate.

March has come and gone, but Dillon Consulting is still working on the report.

“We are having them look in greater detail at some of the technologies, cost information, etc. This is a huge decision, as it affects strategy for the next 25 to 30 years, so we want to make sure we have all needed detail,” Kent stated in an emailed response to questions. “We are hoping to get this back to us over the summer.”

He later stated he has asked that the report be finalized as soon as possible, committing to posting it on the government’s website.

As for the draft report, The Telegram was denied access.

“We asked the consultant for clarification on a few details, and until we receive them, the report is still considered draft and we would prefer to release the report in its final form,” Kent stated, also noting “the finalization of these details, however, doesn’t invalidate the remaining primary content of the report.”

The factual information already provided is being used now in decisions affecting the public.

Kent said a recent decision by Eastern Waste Management to cancel the environmental review for a proposed waste transfer facility off the Trans-Canada Highway, about 8 1/2 kilometres past Whitbourne, was a result of that agency reviewing the information compiled by Dillon Consulting.

Specifically, he stated, “there are a number of factors which led to this decision, which include: 1. Additional information and key findings arising through the work of Dillon Consulting on a draft composting report which did not support such a site; 2. A greater awareness of composting technologies that may be more suitable for composting in this province; and 3. The determination that other ongoing composting pilot projects in the province such as the project being carried out by the Burin Regional Service Board are providing adequate information on potential composting options.”

The commissioned consultant’s report is not meant to be a plan for bringing in widespread composting.

Even with the report in hand, the plan is to develop a separate provincial composting plan.

But Kent would not release the factual information made available by the consultant to date.

“As this is a product of the work of the (composting steering) committee with the consultant, we can’t release it without consent on a final product by all committee members,” he stated.

The committee includes representatives from all of the regional waste management authorities.

“Aside from getting agreement of the other departments and agencies, we’d also need to ensure there are no inaccuracies in the draft that would cause issues if it were released in its current form,” Kent stated.

The Telegram has requested to be notified once the information is available.

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Waste Management, Trans-Canada Highway, Burin Regional Service Board

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  • Can't spell me name.
    July 03, 2014 - 23:12

    This sounds like the same kind of self-justifying reasoning that the government used to cancel the release of the strategic literacy plan. They said the plan was a year old, so it was by that time useless and couldn't be released. (Yeah, right. Like the situation in the province had changed that much. 50% were still functionally illiterate!) The truth was that they didn't want to anyone to know about the recommendations because they planned to privatize the Adult Basic Education program. They didn't intend to enact any of the recommendations, so it's better for them to keep the plan hidden! That may be true of this report, too. Government for the people? No, government for the party.