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Groundswell of concern over western Newfoundland waste management

['Editorial']
['Editorial']

As the date for waste from western Newfoundland being trucked to a site in Norris Arm draws nearer, a groundswell of concern seems to be rising.

That’s because communities are realizing that by July 1 of next year the costs for tipping fees will rise dramatically from the current $59 per tonne to $164 per tonne.

That’s the fee that has been negotiated between Western Regional Waste Management and the operators of the facility at Norris Point.

While it’s a big rise, it’s not something that happened overnight and has been talked about for some time now.

However, when it comes to the final analysis and towns and local service districts have to come up with the money, its likely taxpayers will have to foot the bill in the end.

According to Barbara Barter, chair of Western Regional Waste Management, the aim is to divert up to 50 per cent of the waste that will be going into transfer stations. The plan is to move western Newfoundland forward like the rest of the province and the country with a more modern, environmentally-sound waste program.

Currently in western Newfoundland, waste is being brought to two landfill sites at Wild Cove in Corner Brook and St. George’s for the Bay St. George area.

The big problem seems to be that there is no plan in place at this time for the reduction of organic waste, which Peter Fenwick, chair of the Bay St. George Waste Management Committee, says represents 30 per cent of what goes into landfills.

Fenwick believes he has the answer to this for the Bay St. George area by having the waste go to a digester that New World Dairy has in place in Maidstone in Bay St. George South.

Barter believes it’s a good idea but wonders how long it might take to get the environmental approval for such an operation as the material would be quite different from what’s being used now.

Throw into the mix the fact that Eddie Joyce, minister of Municipal Affairs and Environment, announced last Wednesday the province will be issuing two requests for proposals for professional services to provide an operational and financial analysis of waste management systems in the province.

The study will assess potential solid waste management technologies that will support the goals and objectives of the waste management strategy.

Regional Service Boards have asked if there is a better way to handle waste management, can it be done in a more cost-efficient manner, is there a better way to implement the strategy and are there new technologies out there or other ways to divert waste?

All good questions and with this taking place it makes sense that Fenwick asked to put a hold on closing the current landfills until the review has been completed.

At this time, waste management seems to be an expensive mess.

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