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LETTER: And again … what’s up in Newfoundland?

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I had commented recently about the implausible statement by the president of N.L. Hydro that power rates are going to double, but if the people of the province take remedial action to reduce their consumption, that could make the situation even worse, resulting in even higher rates.

I recently listened to an interview (https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/corner-brook-morning/segment/15558619) with the chair of the Central Region Waste Management (CRWM) responsible for the Norris Arm facility.

Norris Arm was established not to make a profit, but to cover the cost of operating through tipping rates and without a subsidy.

Prior to this, Western Regional Waste Management (WRWM) has notified everyone that tipping fees will more than double. Municipalities across the region are working on ideas to reduce the volume and thereby the weight of waste to be collected.

Laudable ideas like the Cape St. George mandatory composting initiative, Corner Brook’s suggestion to use crushed glass as an aggregate in asphalt and so on.

During the interview on the lack of a rate agreement between CRWM and WRWM, Robert Elliott, chair of CRWM, stated that their proposed rate was based on an estimated volume of approximately 32,500 tons annually from communities in the western region.

Three groups reviewed the numbers to establish the proposed rate. Elliot went on to state that even though what the municipalities were proposing to do to reduce waste was environmentally friendly, if western Newfoundland significantly reduces their volume through these types of initiatives down to 20,000 tons, Norris Arm would potentially be losing a million dollars a year under the proposed rates for western Newfoundland.

The business case they were required to adhere to does not work for lower volumes.

So here is the conundrum: if we as residents, business operators and municipalities take on prudent environmental and cost-effective initiatives to reduce collected waste materials and thereby save on our tipping fees expense, will we be potentially triggering an additional increase in fees from Norris Arm which will result in an increase in local tipping fee rates?

Does this mean that trucking waste to Norris Arm may not be feasible under a reduced volume scenario?

And again … what’s up in Newfoundland?

Am I missing something? Is this another implausible situation that residents find themselves in? Are we hearing a recommendation against waste reduction that is contrary to what the rest of the world would think is a reasonable environmental and cost control approach?

Jerry George, Steady Brook

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