Chris Power and Boyd Wright, officials with the Department of Municipal and Intergovernmental Affairs overseeing Waste Management were in Baie Verte on Monday night for a meeting with local council representatives regarding the province's waste management strategy.
The meeting was a followup to the one held in Springdale a couple weeks ago that saw all towns in the Emerald Zone invited in hopes of forming a Regional Service Board for the region.
Waste Management Meeting
Baie Verte-Green Bay is one of the only regions in the province that still doesn't have a Regional Service Board in place to deal with waste management.
However, at the meeting in Springdale last month it was the consensus of most of the municipal leaders involved that the region still wasn't ready to form a board, and that more education was needed - especially on the Baie Verte Peninsula.
At the time there was also criticism that officials came unprepared for the meeting, lacking detailed on what was being asked of the people in attendance.
As a result of the call for more information, officials were in Baie Verte for a meeting with just the Baie Verte Peninsula on Monday night, with a presentation in hand, and answers to many of the questions councilors and staff posed.
The meeting started with an overview of what the Regional Waste strategy was, and how it's been implemented in other parts of the province.
One of the key questions raised during this meeting was the cost that would result for councils and residents.
The officials clarified that the price being used to base the costs on is around $200 per year, per household.
"You're going to be charged by the ton," said one official. "The average cost to manage one ton of waste is $200 per year. The average household produces a ton of waste per year - some more, some less - so that's where that number comes from."
While tipping fees at the regional site in Norris Arm will be the same for this area as it is for all other regions bringing its waste there, the cost that will likely be different is the collection fees, said the officials. Those tipping fees will be determined by the Regional Service Board.
"In Central they're paying $117 a ton for tipping fee, which gets it from the Transfer Station to the Site in Norris Arm," they explained. "Then it's $74 for curbside collection."
Officials said how much towns will be charged will be based on how much waste they produce. Composting and recycling should reduce the tonnage of waste, and should then reduce fees for municipalities, they said.
Baie Verte Mayor Clar Brown says he's concerned over the social aspect of the new policies.
"I'm concerned about people who are going to have to get used to separating their garbage, and stuff like that," he said. Brown likened the new strategy to what he's seen in other provinces like Prince Edward Island. He admits it can be troubling to get used to.
Officials responded, saying that education was going to be key in the success of the initiative.
"Unfortunately we just don't have to the time or money to do an interim system like is in Green Bay," they said. Mayor Corey Greenham of Ming's Bight says that's why the strategy should have been brought in earlier.
"All of this should have been done years ago," he said. "Now, instead, we're going to have this big change a lot faster than we should have to."
Despite the meeting on Monday night being for a smaller group, it still wasn't well attended. Only eight communities on the Peninsula were represented;11 weren't there at all.
Mayor Paul Toms of La Scie questioned how the notice about the meeting went out, and was told by officials that an email and fax was sent to every town informing them of the meeting.
"Well we didn't receive either," he said. "I found out about this meeting this morning, from (MHA Kevin Pollard's Constituency Assistant) Pat Jim."
Mayor George Kelly of Burlington said he didn't know about the meeting until 2 p.m. that day - just four hours before it was scheduled to start. He said a fax came into their town office just before 10 a.m. that morning, informing them about the meeting.
Officials expressed concern over the fact that some people likely weren't at the meeting because of lack of communication and they took note of contact information for future meetings.