Dysart et al council has learned a planned redesign of the Haliburton landfill could set the municipality back between $4 million and $6 million – though no official costing estimate has been secured.

John Watson, the township’s environmental manager, shared an early rendering of a potential redesign June 25, which included the demolition of an existing storage structure and installation of a weigh scale, new attendant kiosk, and additional waste and recycling drop-off spots at the Haliburton site. The plan also called for the entrance to the landfill to be relocated further along Industrial Park Road.

The existing site entrance, Watson said, would be repurposed into a reuse centre with separate entry to be managed by a local nonprofit.

Under this plan, the Haliburton landfill would become the only site in Dysart where people can dispose of construction and demolition (C&D) waste, Watson said. He proposed extending the landfill’s operating hours, to be open seven days per week.

Watson noted the project would be a second phase to work completed in 2020, when the township capped the landfill – which was at the end of its life – and redesignated it a transfer station.

“This is the first iteration for council to look at – my recommendation is we present this design to the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for their review. Construction, if this is to proceed, would take place over three years, with the first phase moving the public drop-off area… that would happen in 2025,” Watson said.

Coun. Pat Casey asked if Watson had any solid numbers regarding cost. Watson said he didn’t. Instead, he discussed projects elsewhere in the County – at the Maple Lake transfer station in Algonquin Highlands and Scotch Line landfill in Minden Hills.

Those redevelopments cost in the ballpark of $1.5 million and $2 million, Watson said. He added those projects were easier to do, since the contractors did much of the work on stable, vacant land, and were roughly half the size of the Haliburton rebuild.

“The Haliburton landfill, most of that site has garbage underneath it. So, anything we build is going to need to be engineered to deal with the shifting ground underneath the land,” Watson said.

When Casey surmised the cost would be more than double then – at between $4 million and $6 million, Watson didn’t disagree.

Deputy mayor Walt McKechnie said he didn’t even want to think about investing those sums.

“I think we can come up with another plan that’s maybe not as good as this one, but something that would still work. We’re talking a lot of money here,” McKechnie said.

Watson suggested the weigh scale could instead be installed at the West Guilford landfill, with all C&D waste directed there. Council felt that was a better solution, especially if it meant not having to re-engineer the Haliburton landfill. Watson said no matter what council decides, some money will need to be spent upgrading the Haliburton site, for safety reasons.

“We had a retaining wall collapse at the garbage area last week. It happened when the site was closed to the public. Partially, it’s because of frost in the ground, but it’s also because there’s not a secure base in the ground there. It will take some engineering, some concrete to make sure the area we build for public drop off is safely accessible,” Watson said.

Casey asked if the project – installation of weigh scales at West Guilford and upgrades at Haliburton – could be done for between $500,000 and $1 million. Public works director, Rob Camelon, said staff will investigate.

Watson said any proposal for the West Guilford landfill, utilizing vacant land the township owns, would first need to be approved by the MECP. It was suggested, too, that West Guilford would become a C&D drop-off site only. People with residential waste would be directed to Haliburton.

Coun. Carm Sawyer, who represents West Guilford, wanted to see regular waste and recycling disposal continue. Staff said it would provide a list of options, and costs, to council later this year.