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Grey River garbage removal pilot project

Grey River’s garbage is picked up by one worker in an ATV with a trailer. - Photo courtesy of Cathy Barter
Grey River’s garbage is picked up by one worker in an ATV with a trailer. - Photo courtesy of Cathy Barter

New waste transfer stations expected to open this summer

GREY RIVER, N.L. — The local service district of Grey River has been a test subject for a new garbage collection system.

The isolated community has a population of approximately 90 residents.

In 2015 the community’s old teepee style incinerator burned out. With a province-wide shift in garbage collection methods previously anticipated for the end of 2016, community leaders agreed to try out a pilot project, a partnership between the Department of Municipal Affairs, the Town of Burgeo and the community of Grey River.

Under the new system, a worker in Grey River picks up resident’s garbage on an ATV with a trailer. The garbage is brought to the wharf where it is stored in green bins, which resemble fish tubs. The green bins are then brought to Burgeo by ferry.

A worker in Burgeo picks up the garbage and currently transports it to the area dump, but will be bringing to a new waste transfer station — one of six located in Western N.L. that are scheduled to open this summer — located a few kilometers outside Burgeo. 

The garbage is brought to the wharf and placed in storage units that resemble fish tubs. - Photo courtesy of Cathy Barter
The garbage is brought to the wharf and placed in storage units that resemble fish tubs. - Photo courtesy of Cathy Barter

The green garbage bins are then washed out and sent back to Grey River via ferry.

Grey River local service district chair Lawrence Short says the new system is an improvement over the old practice of burning garbage.

“It worked out good for us,” Short commented. “Our incinerator in Grey River was close to the community. It was really an eyesore, especially for tourists.

“Every week or so it had to be shoveled out, all the tin cans and stuff that didn’t burn. I saw it (the new system) as a way of getting rid of the weekly burning of garbage.”

Short also mentioned that the smell of burning garbage could be often be strong for residents depending on wind direction.

He remarked that the new system has the challenge of being weather dependent. 

“There are obviously problems with the weather conditions using the ferry,” Short said. “Normally, we would send our garbage out on a ferry every Wednesday, but not every Wednesday did we have a ferry. Especially in the winter.

“Sometimes it (the ferry) wouldn’t go until Friday, and the collector didn’t have anyone working that afternoon, so it didn’t get taken up until next week out of the containers. There were some issues with that obviously the longer it stayed, especially this time of year.”

The pilot project gave the provincial government a chance to study the process of extracting garbage from an isolated community. The project will wrap up by the end of July. It went over schedule because the transfer stations weren’t completed by the original schedule of 2016. August 6 is the new date that’s been set for a transfer station to start taking garbage from Grey River, Ramea and Burgeo.

Up until now the provincial government has been paying for the worker to pick up the garbage on the Burgeo side. The worker charged $50 per week for the extra duties. The government plans to issue a new tender to give companies and individuals a chance to bid on that work.

Short expects that resident’s monthly service fees will have to go up to accommodate the new garbage collection system but he won’t know how much until the tender is awarded. Presently residents pay $20 per month for water, street lights and garbage collection. He believes the hardest part for residents will be learning how to separate their garbage and what colour bags to use.

“It will take some getting used to,” Short said.

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