‘Fingers crossed’ for Dawson landfill transfer station approval

MELDRUM BAY—The Dawson Local Services Board (LSB) is hoping for of approval of an environmental certificate of approval to use a transfer station on property owned by the province in the long term, but for now it hopes to continue to use its garbage bin system with cooperation from the province.

John Van Every of the LSB provided local residents and businesses with an update on the township waste disposal site at a meeting this past Sunday. As had been reported previously, the Dawson LSB and the local Citizens Improvement Association (DCIA) had been in discussion with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) which owns the Dawson Township landfill property. The township’s five-year agreement with the MNRF on the dumpsite expired in 2017 and in the new agreement there was wording the local groups were not in favour of that the DCIA would be perpetually liable for any environmental issue.

The DCIA had negotiated with the MNRF but elected not to sign the agreement in January of this year, and the MNRF closed the site in February. The LSB and the MNRF cooperatively worked on an interim solution, with MNRF providing the township a very large bin (for household waste). And they hired a company to provide it and clean the bin out as needed. This process was set to be in place through 2018.

“The general consensus of the community seems to be that everyone is supportive of working with the MNRF to use the transfer station on the site of the former landfill,” said Mr. Van Every. “The challenge is realizing our dream.”

“The MNRF has been very supportive of the community after we found ourselves in a serious landfill problem,” said Mr. Van Every.

Mr. Van Every explained what is needed now is to get approval to amend the ECA to accommodate moving the transfer station on the property owned by the province. “The ECA process can be onerous but we (LSB) are requesting the amendment. All we can do is be hopeful, but in the meantime we are still generating garbage.”
“I think the community has been generally accepting of the current bin, and allowing it to continue next year,” said Mr. Van Every. “Up to now, the costs have been borne by the ministry, which we are very appreciative of, and they are looking to us to budget for the next year to take on the cost. A meeting has been set for October 25 to finalize our budget for 2018-2019.” He explained, “last year our budget was $6,000 for garbage collection (roughly 200 residents and $30 for each for 20177-2018). For 2018-2019 the projected cost is $30,000, $150 per ratepayer.”

“We believe the (LSB) is generally supportive with this,” said Mr. Van Every.

Mr. Van Every went on to explain, “we have a situation that one of our one of large contributors of garbage in the community, the Mississagi Lighthouse Property is owned by the federal department of Oceans and Fisheries and we can’t bill them.”
“Maybe we should look at if we don’t receive money from them for next year, their garbage is their own,” said Ab Townsend.

Mr. Van Every noted the Dawson LSB had looked at four options of how to deliver garbage service to local residents. “The bin was the cheapest option and the one most favoured. And we as a community have been very good citizens on using the bins responsibly. We have worked to a high level, and the MNRF, I think, is appreciative that we have been a good community to work with. It improves our chances of attaining our ultimate goal.”

Mr. Van Every outlined the two other options that the LSB had looked at, bin/curbside garbage pickup similar to Robinson township, a hybrid option of a mix of curbside and bin (business) garbage pickup was the most expensive option. “The fourth option was to look to see if anyone was interested in operating our landfill as it currently exists,” he said, noting, “we made no progress on the fourth option.”

Opting for the bin system, “we were going at this with blind faith that everyone would be responsible in using the bins for garbage,” said Mr. Van Every. “Now the transfer station is monitored regularly and has regular scheduled hours,” being monitored and enforced by Mr. Townsend.

“We will be required to present our future plans to the MNRF,” cautioned Mr. Van Every. “My hope is that they will allow us to allow for the bin on their property, with hopefully no insurance costs to the community.”

The MNRF is prepared to make an application for the amendment to the site, and are prepared to apply for funding and hopefully the application for the ECA amendment goes through, Mr. Van Every told the meeting.

One resident questioned, “where would the liability for environmental impacts lie,” and he was told that it would be negligible, that it requires general liability and no environment policy is required.

“If the ECA amendment is approved we would be able to use the transfer station, on the existing lot owned by the province,” said Mr. Van Every. “We are probably two years from reaching our objective.”

For now we are looking at this one year at a time, and for 2018-2019 the garbage bin is our best solution.”

Mr. Van Every was praised for his work with the MNRF in the process, but noted, “we haven’t accomplished anything yet. If we are going to achieve our goal it is extremely important that we all stay together on this.”