© Geraldine Brophy
A tractor is seen compacting garbage at the Wild Cove landfill on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013.
CORNER BROOK — Planning to turn the Wild Cove landfill site into a regional transfer station should begin this year.
While still in the recommendation stage, Don Downer, chair of the Western Regional Waste Management Committee, said Wild Cove is one of six identified transfer stations to be located in western Newfoundland.
Waste from the western transfer stations will go to a site in Norris Arm North. Between the central and western regions this site will serve somewhere around 170,000 people. Downer expects the independent NorPen region, Bellburns to St. Anthony, will also follow suit and truck its waste to Norris Arm North.
Downer said planning will start for all six western stations this year with the goal of having the two largest ones, Wild Cove and St. George’s, ready by early 2015.
“They actually cater to over 70 per cent of the population in western Newfoundland,” said Downer of the two sites. He said, together, the two sites serve about 54,000 of the region’s 75,000 people.
As the committee moves ahead with changing the handling of waste management it will also undergo some internal changes as it becomes the Western Regional Service Board.
“The committee, the Western Regional Waste Management Committee, is simply that,” said Downer. “It’s a committee appointed by government, with a chair appointed by government and it’s not incorporated.”
Downer said it has no status other than representing the people of western Newfoundland.
By moving to a regional service board, Downer said the organization will come under the Regional Service Board Act, and its members are elected instead of appointed.
Elections were held this past fall to select the 11 members of the board and all of them are either a councillor or a mayor from communities within the region.
The members still have to be sanctioned by the minister of Municipal Affairs, which is expected to happen by the end of March.
Following that, fees may be raised in order to run the non-profit organization.
“The fees will come from the various communities scattered up and down the coast,” said Downer, who expects there will be a slight increase in fees for waste management, and noted this will be greater in some areas than others.
In central and eastern, the fees are paid to the communities and the communities are billed by the regional service boards. Downer said the rates could be passed on to homeowners either through taxes or direct billing.
The next step will be to begin running the transfer stations and public drop-off sites. The three planned public drop-off sites will be for construction and demolition materials, bulky items like chesterfields and white metals like washers and dryers.
Downer said there will still be some support from government up until the point the board can get independent status. The support will help the organization meet the requirements of the province’s waste management strategy by 2016.
Identified transfer stations:
— Hampden Junction
— Rocky Harbour
— Wild Cove
— St. George’s
— Port aux Basques
Identified locations for public drop-off sites:
— Port au Port Peninsula
— Southern Bonne Bay
— Northern Peninsula between Rocky Harbour and Portland Creek