Proposed fee change at landfill coming back before MH council
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | February 27, 2017|
A proposed change in the tipping fees for compaction trucks and bins is coming back before Minden Hills council.
During a Feb. 23 meeting, councillors said they would reconsider a rate of $35 per cubic yard at their March committee of the whole and regular council meetings. The next COTW meeting is March 9 and the next regular council meeting is March 23.
The reconsideration came before a public meeting on the item. During that meeting, Brigitte Gall, a consultant to Highlands Environmental, which has the contract at the Scotch Line landfill, opposed the change. A letter from resident Jim Davis, also in opposition, was also tabled.
Reeve Brent Devolin said there would be “more discussion in this chamber,” when asked by Gall what the outcome of last Thursday’s meeting had been.
The change would see the fee dropped from $50 per cubic yard.
During the public meeting, Gall asked, “What is the rationale for providing a lower fee for unsorted material coming in, when one company will benefit only?”
She said it was “a tax subsidy to a company that was doing what we all do” – which is respecting the municipality’s goal of diverting waste and recycling to extend the life of the landfill. She said it was a case of “asking all users of the landfill to do the right thing.”
Davis agreed in a letter read out by Ivan Ingram, environmental and property operations manager.
“I am writing to express my opposition to the use of a flat rate fee of $35 for compacted truckloads of waste,” Davis wrote.
He said it is “entirely unfair and discriminatory” for residents to pay $40 for a pickup load of material taken to the landfill while allowing “a private (mostly sole source) contractor” to deposit tons and tons of material for a flat fee of $35 per load.
“My pickup truck is a 1500 Dodge Ram with a broken spring and yet I am charged up to $40 for a level box load of sorted waste (sometimes it is fiberglass insulation). I paid these fees because waste is waste and needs to be dealt with and not deposited along roadsides as is the fairly common practice, he continued.
“The company that is benefiting from this pricing policy is primarily a monopoly. They do not need a municipal subsidy to be successful.
“The people who pay taxes and do their best to sort and deliver waste in an environmentally-friendly manner will be unduly penalized. If you want to level the playing field, charge the compacted loads $100. The compacted loads still need to be shredded and/or chipped and often some of the material in the load should have been sorted and recycled in the first place. The compacted loads are not necessarily the best or wisest use of landfill space,” the letter stated.
Ingram brought the recommendation to council Jan. 26. At the time, he said in a report that, “Staff is experiencing differences of opinion between contractors and landfill attendants regarding the amount of material in compacted refuse loads and whether the loads are considered to be a contaminated load.” At the time, he said he thought the new rate would eliminate conflicts at the gate and create a level playing field.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.