The Scotch Line landfill in Minden Hills will have a large deficit for 2018 and it will be up to the township’s new council to figure out how that deficit is handled.
During a Nov. 22 council meeting councillors received a staff report detailing expenses at the Scotch Line site for the year. Staff is projecting a deficit of $195000 for the landfill for 2018.
“Obviously it’s been a year of surprises at the Scotch Line” said Mayor Brent Devolin. “We’ve been through them. I think none of us thought this was coming for free or little but I feel like I’ve woken up with a bill and a hangover from a big night the night before. So I would say on a constructive note obviously where we go forward with the landfill in our budgetary discussions this year where we’re at where we still need to get to be with respect to our partners in the Ministry of Environment and integrating into that 25-year plan we have some serious heavy lifting to do.”
In 2017 the township received two provincial orders from what was then called the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change related to the Scotch Line landfill; one demanding remediation measures to address the amount of leachate on the property and another regarding the improper storage of hazardous materials. There have been several on-site visits in 2018 from what is now called the Ministry of Environment Conservation and Parks and those visits have resulted in several directions to staff.
“The directions included seagull mitigation daily cover requirements and removal of the construction waste pile” read a report from environmental and property operations manager Ivan Ingram. Meeting those requirements resulted in an increase in expenditures. Those costs included extra trucking and extra covering with those services provided by area contractors. The township also hired a firm to mitigate the problematic seagull population at the landfill and a visit from the Ministry of Labour resulted in the township renting portable offices for landfill attendants after it was deemed the attendant sheds that were in place were not suitable.
While $126000 had been budgeted for operations at the site expenditures ended up totalling more than $320000 for a deficit of approximately $195000.
Because the current Minden Hills council is in “lame duck” period meaning it cannot make any substantial financial decisions how the township goes about dealing with the deficit will be a decision for the new council set to be sworn in Dec. 3
Ingram told councillors the township had been doing what it was instructed to do by the ministry but that the ministry didn’t like the way it was being done so some changes were required. In general he said more money would need to be allotted for operations at the Scotch Line site.
“In order to do what council’s expecting of us on that site we’re going to have to spend some money” Ingram said. He indicated he’d be suggesting the new council take a look at bringing some operations that are currently contracted out in-house at the township adding that would require equipment purchases and the hiring of additional staff.
“They kind of offset each other” he said. “I’ll explain that at budget time.”
“I would say I would like to see a very proactive [approach] with a plan where we’re ahead of the curve in having conversations and knowing the expenditures” Devolin said.
Noting that Dysart et al has some of its waste shipped Councillor Jean Neville asked if there would be consideration given to doing the same thing in Minden Hills.
“Are you going to include that option and possible costs” Neville asked.
Ingram said that option could be explored and that as for costs it was the type of service that would have to undergo a request for proposals.
“We’re sorting everything now so it’s easy to load and get out of there it’s just a matter of finding the best company at the best price to do that” he said.
Devolin said he thought there was interest from the councils of the county’s other lower-tier townships about taking a regional approach to some waste disposal issues.
“The other three municipalities have an appetite to have a collaborative conversation” he said.