ST. JOHN’S, NL – Municipal Affairs and Environment Minister Eddie Joyce said he has seen nothing thus far from the Eastern Regional Service Board that changes the department’s position regarding the collection of fees for seasonal and cabin properties.
That position is that the board has the legislative authority to set fees to offset the expenses of delivering waste management services and that they can charge lower waste collection fees for seasonal users as other boards in the province are doing.
In a statement today, Feb. 22, Joyce said he recently met and exchanged correspondence with the board.
Joyce said board chair Ed Grant confirmed in a letter on Feb. 21 that the board is charging fees based on their deliberations about what constitutes a fair approach to the collection of the fees.
“As I stated previously, regional service boards are independent entities that are responsible for providing waste management services and establishing service delivery policies to properties within the region,” Joyce said.
“Through the Regional Service Boards Act, 2012, the boards have the authority to set fees to offset the expenses of delivering waste management services. The administration of the fees is specific to each board.”
Many seasonal cabin owners in the eastern region are upset they are being charged $180 for a service they don’t need or use.
“Our government supports proper waste management practices, and we are continuing our work to protect our environment and the health and safety of residents,” Joyce said.
Joyce met with the board on Jan. 30 to discuss the issue.
“We were genuine in our acknowledgement at the meeting that there are some obvious problems with the current method of service delivery and we indicated our full intention to look at all options to solve these problems,” Grant wrote in the letter referenced by Joyce in his statement, which was obtained by SaltWire Network.
“It does seem that much of the criticism of the Board is focused on operational issues that can be addressed through future dialogue.”
Grant went on to say the board has listened to the various viewpoints on the issue.
“We believe we are providing waste management services in the fairest and most transparent way. We recognize not everyone feels that way. We are looking at options to engage all stakeholders to get opinions and options that might improve the overall situation,” he wrote.
The provincial government issued two requests for proposals last fall for evaluating the current waste management plan to ensure that the strategy is being implemented in a modern, efficient and cost-effective manner, Joyce noted in his statement.