Despite so many advancements in waste management these days, garbage in Burgeo is still being burned openly.
The town’s incinerator — which the province long ago outlawed, but few still remain in remote locations — was dilapidated and no longer burning within a closed concept for the last number of years. Falling down anyway, it is no longer used to dispose of waste in the southwest coast community.
The waste from Grey River is also brought into Burgeo, a pilot project since November 2013, and burned and buried.
With the transfer station in Burgeo not expected to be completed before 2016 — the deadline put on the completion of the waste management strategy for the western region — the open burning is expected to continue until then.
Burgeo Mayor Barbara Barter is looking to put an end to the situation, but it appears there is no immediate end in sight.
“In the case of Burgeo, it was a difficult situation,” said Don Downer, chair of the Western Regional Service Board for Waste Management.
“To try to haul material in to cover, you just have to bring it in just under 20 kilometres up the highway.”
Taking down the incinerator and digging a trench was not that much different, he confirmed.
“Not a desirable situation, but nothing else that could be done under the circumstances until the transfer station is complete.
Meanwhile, the towns of Francois and Ramea will continue to use incinerators. There is not much value closing those only to burn the waste elsewhere, according to Downer.
“We are taking steps to putting a program in place whereby they will be closed out between now and 2016,” he said. “The waste will probably come in by containers, we are not quite sure yet.”
In a 2002 strategy, the former Liberal government had set a date of 2008 to have all incinerators shut down, putting an end to the burning of garbage. More than a decade later and six years past the deadline, the process is still underway.
A logical solution would be to have the transfer station up and running in Burgeo, acknowledged Downer, but government policies and regulations have to be followed.
The consultant CBCL is finalizing the plan for the western regional transfer stations, he said.
“The planning process, which is the reason why 2016 was set, is to get all your detailed plans in place before you actually put one anywhere,” he said.
The interim close outs of Wild Cove and St. George’s dump sites are underway.