By Chad Ingram
Published April 6 2017
After considerable conversation Minden Hills council has settled on a flat fee of $35 per cubic yard of waste from compactor trucks at the Scotch Line landfill and $50 per cubic yard in cases where loads are very obviously contaminated with recyclables.
Previously the fee had been $25 per cubic yard and $50 per cubic yard for a contaminated load. Under Minden Hills bylaws a contaminated load is one that contains more than six per cent of material that could actually be recycled.
The flat fee was suggested by staff as a compromise and means of mitigating disagreements between landfill attendants and compaction truck drivers.
In his advocacy for the flat fee environmental and property operations manager Ivan Ingram has stressed that determining whether or not a load contains more than six per cent recyclables is an extremely subjective process.
It had been suggested by some that the new fee would be the equivalent of subsidizing compaction truck companies.
A staff report calculating the amount of money it takes for the township to process 10 yards of compacted household waste versus 10 yards of construction waste showed the cost for the latter is much greater.
“In summary it costs the township approximately $100.03 to address 10 cubic yards of material and $613.28 for the same amount of construction waste” that report read indicating that sorted construction waste is basically being subsidized by $210 per every 10 cubic yards.
At council’s March 30 meeting Ingram stressed the township does its best when it comes to monitoring recyclable materials mixed in with other garbage.
“If you want to go to zero . . . you’re going to have to hire a lot more people” he told councillors.
Chief administrative officer Lorrie Blanchard stressed the $50 per cubic yard fee will still be charged in instances where loads are clearly very contaminated.
“This is not across the board $35” Blanchard said. “If there’s an extremely dirty load we’re still charging them the $50.”
“Garbage and landfill is complicated” said Reeve Brent Devolin. “It’s going to get more complicated.”
Devolin was referring to implications from the Ontario Waste-Free Act passed by the province last year.
“We would all like to do a better job of environmental stewardship and extending the lifespan of the landfill” Devolin said.
The current estimated lifespan of the Scotch Line landfill is 33 years up from 31 years not long ago thanks to increased waste diversion and recycling.
Councillor Lisa Schell pointed out that when she was first on council more than a decade ago the estimated lifespan at that time was about 20 years.
“It’s going to be a very expensive option when Scotch Line closes” said Deputy-reeve Cheryl Murdoch. “When that place closes you’re looking at horrendous cost horrendous cost.”
Murdoch said she’d like to see the township purchase weigh scales for the landfill and Devolin recognized that residents are looking for more options at the site including a hazardous waste disposal facility.
Currently the township holds special days throughout the year where hazardous waste is accepted.