The Sort-It Western waste management program is slated for implementation in Deer Lake next month, but it will be longer than that if the town has its way.
The program was kicked off in the Corner Brook, Humber Valley, Pasadena and St. George’s areas in mid-July and has since been rolled out in Burgeo, the southern parts of the Northern Peninsula and in southwestern Newfoundland.
The final zone is the Deer Lake and White Bay South region, where the mandatory garbage sorting and recycling program is set to come into effect Oct. 15.
At its public meeting earlier this week, the Deer Lake town council resolved to write a letter to Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Andrew Parsons, requesting an extension to the start of the program in their municipality.
The Sort-it Western program has not started smoothly. While most residents have been compliant with the new regulations and collected recyclables are being processed by Scotia Recycling, regular garbage is not being transported to a landfill in central Newfoundland as was planned.
Western Regional Waste Management, the authority responsible for the program in western Newfoundland, has yet to work out a deal with Central Waste Management to accept the western region’s garbage at the central landfill site in Norris Arm.
Deputy Mayor Mike Goosney said the uncertainty of the program and what the costs are or will be is causing major concern for the Deer Lake council. In particular, he cited how the original plan proposed for waste management was to have an engineered landfill site somewhere within western Newfoundland accept the region trash, rather than have it shipped to central Newfoundland.
“To me, having a responsibility to the taxpayer to do things environmentally and economically right, this plan isn’t the one they rolled out in 2002 because there’s a mega-dump missing,” said Goosney.
The recycling component is great, noted Goosney, but he said the town wants more reassurance its costs for the overall program is affordable and fair.
Tipping fees for solid waste disposal have risen from $59 to $164 per tonne under the new waste management strategy, which has been a concern for many towns under Western Regional Waste Management’s jurisdiction.
“I think we deserve answers to the questions we have,” said Goosney.