Wait on waste

Rudy Norman
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Sometimes things just don't work out as planned, and that's just how organizers of a waste management meeting felt Tuesday in Springdale when their meeting came to a conclusion.

Representatives from the Department of Municipal Affairs, Department of Environment and the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB) hosted a meeting at Manual Hall to discuss a regional waste management strategy. All three groups were also hopeful in the forming of a regional service board - a board that would be responsible for governing the future endeavours of bringing the region on stream for the province's Waste Management Strategy.

waste

The meeting began with organizers explaining logistics of why they were there, and what the future likely meant for the region.

Attendees at the meeting were told its government's goal to have the entire province on stream by the year 2020. However, representatives also said it's likely to happen before that - maybe as early as 2016 or 2017. If this occurs it gives towns just two years to prepare for what many expect will be a substantial burden in the operations.

While the Green Bay sub-region of the overall region, has been making great strides in regionalizing waste management over the past number of years, the Baie Verte area has been lagging behind the mark on many fronts.

Many communities on the Baie Verte Peninsula still have local landfills within, or nearby, their municipal boundaries, while towns in the Green Bay sub-region have been shipping their waste to the regional facility in South Brook for a number of years.

While many things are still unknown and need to be planned, the one thing that is known is that eventually all waste from this region will be shipped to the Central Waste Management Site in Norris Arm. It will go there from what's likely to be one or more transfer sites in the area that will process the waste before shipping it to the Central facility.

Things like how many transfer sites, where they'll be located, and many other logistics will be the responsibility of the Regional Service Board with the help of consultants and the various government departments. However, the board will be independent and will operate under its own legislation, as already put forward by the provincial government.

Setting up and electing this board was the true purpose of Tuesday's meeting, with a suggestion that three members from each sub-region - the Green Bay and Baie Verte Peninsula sides - be elected as the founding members.

However, that plan was suddenly derailed after councillors and staff from various communities in the region started asking questions of the organizers and objecting to the way things were being done.

South Brook councillor, Wallace McKay, raised concerns over the existing Green Bay Waste Authority Committee, which is currently made up of a member from each municipality it serves.

"So when this new committee comes into place, am I right in saying that the current committee will then be gone?" he asked.

When the answer came back affirmative, many people felt the old committee should be kept, and members from the Baie Verte Peninsula just be added. Organizers said they felt that would be a far too large of a committee, and pose other problems.

Baie Verte councillor, Scott Bailey, said the Department of Municipal Affairs has been dragging its feet on the Waste Management Strategy, and calling a meeting on Tuesday night to form a board was pre-emptive.

"We were told our dump was going to close in 2011, and we've been putting off buying a new garbage truck since then, because we thought it was going to close any day," he said. "We haven't received enough education on this to even know what we're signing up for, so why would we join a board?"

Nearly all in the meeting agreed, and felt that more education for the Baie Verte Peninsula was needed in order to move forward.

"We know what's involved because we've been doing it for all these years - they haven't," said one Springdale councillor.

Dennis Vincent said he expressed his concerns earlier this week when he called the Department of Municipal Affairs about Tuesday night's meeting.

"Notices were sent out to councils inviting them to this meeting," he said, "but most councils probably haven't met since the invitation was sent out."

Vincent is chairperson of the Green Bay Waste Authority and pointed out the absence of many councils at the meeting, especially many from the Baie Verte Peninsula.

"I think you've got to go and have meetings in Baie Verte, and do more education there, and then we can come back to a meeting like this," said Springdale mayor, Harvey Tizzard. "But you're not getting a regional service board tonight, I can tell you that."

Tizzard proved to be right, as the meeting dissolved without the formation of a regional board.

However, organizers agreed to arrange meetings in Baie Verte for municipalities on the Peninsula to get more information and education on what would be happening moving forward.

 

Organizations: Regional Service Board, Department of Municipal Affairs, Green Bay Waste Authority Committee

Geographic location: Baie Verte, Green Bay, South Brook Norris Arm Springdale

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  • Barbara Colbourne
    February 23, 2014 - 05:49

    The Town of Lushes Bight-Beaumont was not notified that this meeting was to take place. Were there any other stakeholders, besides us, who did not know the meeting was being held?