Tipping fees would have gone up regardless: Downer

Diane Crocker
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There's changes coming for the Wild Cove landfill site, they include a new building planned for the site, catwalks and facilities to allow for easier use of the scales, a readjustment of the scales, computer and date management systems, surveillance cameras and changes to the location of bins for public drop off.

Don Downer wants the people and businesses of the western region to know that things are changing at the Wild Cove landfill site.

Downer is chair of the Western Regional Service Board, which took over the Wild Cove and St. George’s landfill sites in January.

The city site is currently being operated by Edward Collins Contracting and the board is in the process of taking that contract over from the City of Corner Brook.

In advance, Downer said the board worked with a consultant to develop a budget that would allow for a common tipping fee in the region.

“We’re not dealing with collections now,” said Downer, who is out of the country and reached by phone. “We’re only dealing with tipping fees for both sites. In other words, operating the site and charging people to use it.”

The rate decided on was just over $40 a tonne. The board, he said, found that St. George’s had an operating surplus of around $50,000, but Wild Cove had a deficit of over $300,000.

It was decided to give the surplus back in St. George’s and to repay the deficit to the City of Corner Brook for Wild Cove over a period of a year or more if needed. This resulted in a tipping fee of just under $49 for Wild Cove and approximately $35 in St. George’s.

A portion of the fees for Wild Cove will go to the deficit and Downer said the board will check on where it is in the recovery process in July and again at the end of the year.

“One thing we have to do is break even with this,” he said.

Prior to the common tipping fee, Downer said the city was charging $15 for commercial tipping and $30 for domestic waste. The increased cost of going to a common fee has created some concern in the business community.

“It’s only now that things seem to be coming to a reality check I suppose for these people,” said Downer. He noted that increasing the cost of waste disposal is something that has been talked about for years as the province implements its waste management plan in 2016.

And Downer said there would have been a significant increase  regardless of whether the board took over the Wild Cove landfill.

“They would have had to increase the rate,” he said, “because there’s no way they could have recovered that money unless they did that.”

Downer also refuted claims that households in the city would pay an extra $200 for waste disposal next year is erroneous. He expects the total (not an extra) cost of waste disposal to residents will be as close to $200 as possible, allowing for adjustment for inflation.

Mayor Charles Pender said the cost to residents of the city right now is about $108 per residential unit for collection, recycling and disposal. Garbage collection costs the city a little under $1 million a year for the 9,053 residential units in the city, he said.

“Our cost to residents is based on both collection and disposal and includes all of our recycling efforts such as collecting curbside waste, our tree collection and our leaf collection.”

This year, Pender said the city increased its waste management budget by $400,000 to offset the anticipated increase in waste disposal. The extra cost comes from the increased tipping fees. He doesn’t expect to see any further increases in cost this year and expects that the fees will actually decrease next year because of the repaying of the deficit noted by Downer.

Moving waste to central

The mayor has a lot of questions and concerns as the plan moves to shipping all waste to the central and western collection site in Norris Arm.

“When they do that there will be an additional cost for trucking, and there’s no commitment that I know of from either (the service board) or the province to offset the cost of that trucking.”

Pender said that means people will pay more for waste disposal “if we continue to dispose of waste in the same manner as we do today.”

He said that’s why the city will be putting a focus on educating the public on reducing waste by recycling and reusing, and by promoting activities like giveaways or swaps of used items, electronic waste disposal and composting.

“My intention is not to ship one ounce of waste to Norris Arm if we don’t have to,” said Pender.

The mayor said there’s very little information out there on what happens once 2016 rolls around. Specifically, he wonders who will collect the waste as well as what changes will take place at Wild Cove.

Downer also said the board is also working on what to do with recyclables and compostables with the intention not to transport them to the central waste collection site in Norris Arm. But he doesn’t think retaining compostable material here or bringing it to Norris Arm will impact the cost much.

“We have to pay to get the compost brought to sites, or we have to run the operation of it at several smaller sites,” he said.

As for recyclables, Downer said the board would like to see an efficient recycling system set up. H

“The long-term planning to put transfer stations in place and to figure out where the public drop-offs should be, what kind of transportation system we’ll have.”

That also includes spending money to make changes at the Wild Cove site. There’s a new building planned for the site, catwalks and facilities to allow for easier use of the scales, a readjustment of the scales, computer and date management systems, surveillance cameras and changes to the location of bins for public drop off.

Organizations: Western Regional Service Board

Geographic location: Corner Brook for Wild Cove, Corner Brook.In, Norris Arm

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Recent comments

  • Joe The Dummer
    February 27, 2014 - 09:09

    All this talk about trucking garbage long distances, where we're going to burry it in the ground for hundreds of years (or worse, burn it), increased fees... Unreal. It's 2014 and we should be talking about reusing/recycling glass, plastics, milk cartons - the list goes on! Where are our leaders at the municipal, regional and provincial levels to make the right changes now in our best interests?