Algonquin Highlands staff and council gathered June 27 for the official opening ceremony of the new operations centre at the Maple Lake waste disposal site.

“As a million-dollar project, we are celebrating the completion of its first phase, which will improve the efficiency of operations at the site,” said communication coordinator, Chad Ingram.

Public works supervisor Adam Thorn and environmental manager Melissa Murray were joined by mayor Liz Danielsen, deputy mayor Jennifer Dailloux and councillors Lisa Barry and Julia Shortreed for a ribboncutting. Coun. Sabrina Richards was absent.

Danielsen said, “it’s a really exciting day for the municipality. This project has been a long time in the planning. It is really an exciting project, working so much better for everybody, so much more organized and costeffective.”

She thanked Thorn and Murray for the work they’d done, the contractor, and Cambium.

Murray said it’s been up and running for a couple of weeks and they’ve had “excellent” feedback from the public. “Not a negative comment, which is fabulous. I’ve had people make a point of pulling me aside to say how fabulous this is. Long-time residents who’ve been here and this has been the best change that they’ve seen.”

She said they’d gone from about half to three-quarters-ofa-hectare to about two hectares, giving them a lot more useable space. After working on an active landfill, they now have permanent bins, and can use the landfill as it was intended.

They have room for 10, 40-yard bins and potentially two more. The site is split into two parts now, household waste and recycling, and non-household, as well as space for things such as tires and metal. On the other side are chargeable materials, such as construction waste, brush and leaves, shingles, concrete, mattresses, furniture, fridges etc.

“And the long-term plan is that area will all be scaled materials. Right now, we assess based on volume but in the future, they will be based on weight and there will be a scale in place. So, people can scale in, go through the loop, go through this area, or exit the site.”

Murray added they still have all of their existing diversion programs, such as electronics, batteries, propane cylinders and a well-used reuse centre.

Murray said the contract was worth nearly $900,000 and they would get weigh scales this year.

“It’s a very popular site.”