By James Matthews (Local Journalism Initiative reporter)
Materials from a brush chipping program is available free to the public.
Nikki Payne, manager of Minden Hills’ waste facilities, apprised council during its Oct. 13 meeting of a way to get rid of chipped brush that would benefit residents and the township.
She said staff is still accepting brush at the Ingoldsby and Iron Mine waste disposal sites as part of a woodchip management plan.
National Grinding, the company that was awarded the $30,849 contract, is scheduled to complete chipping at the Ingoldsby site this month.
After the work is completed, there will be a stockpile of woodchips left at the site.
And what can be done with wood chips, you may ask? Given the time of year, one use that blooms in the minds of gardeners is using the chips as a plant bed cover to save roots from frost.
Staff considered a number of options on how to get rid of the chipped material before settling on the public giveaway.
The first and most obvious was to have municipal staff transport the wood chips to the Scotch Line landfill for use as alternative daily cover.
“Unfortunately, that would require additional staff time and equipment to load the material and transport it to Scotch Line,” Payne said. “While it would be nice to offset some of our sand, it’s not [the] most favourable material to be used.”
She said it could only be used as a supplemental covering. Besides, the purpose of chipping brush and separating leaf material is to divert it from the landfill site, she said.
Another option considered was for the municipality to sell the wood chips to the public. Certainly, that would have doused the public’s demand for such material.
“This could potentially reduce the amount of material we’re seeing leave (the dump),” she said. “As it is, the wood chips are not freshly chipped from a tree. So they’re not the most ideal.”
But, she said, there could be a use for them in the community. And there’s the directive from the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks to timely remove the material from the landfill.
“Just trying to find the most efficient way to get them offsite and provide that service back to the residents,” she said. “We also can’t guarantee the quality of the material, so maybe selling them isn’t the best option.”
The wood chips are not inspected nor are they the most ideal type of wood chip as they are sourced from brush as opposed to trees. And that’s why staff favoured giving away the wood chips to residents, free of charge.
Residents can access the wood chips during the regular operating hours of the site. Residents would be free to take as many of the wood chips as they’d like, but would be responsible for loading their own vehicle with the material.