County unveils waste tactics
By BOB BRUTON Barrie Examiner
Residents can have their say about a new Simcoe County waste management strategy in early February.
County councillors heard a presentation on the process leading to a new strategy, by consultants Stantec, yesterday.
The plan is to have a new strategy ready for Simcoe County council approval in June.
“Solving waste management is a serious issue that council must address,” said Simcoe County Warden Cal Patterson.
Janine Ralph of Stantec indicated why such a strategy is essential.
“As of today, there’s only five or six years of operating capacity left in the (county’s dump) sites,” she said.
At the beginning of 2009, only three of the county’s six landfills — Nottawasaga, Oro and Tosorontio — had remaining capacity, about 767,000 cubic metres. With about 110,000 cubic metres of capacity being used last year, the math alone shows the need.
Simcoe County requires a new strategy for handling its future waste after council mothballed dump Site 41, in Tiny Township, following widespread public opposition last year.
“Site 41 is not an option,” said Ralph. “It has been taken off the table by council. Short-term.”
Ralph said the county’s short-term options now are to modify existing landfills, to increase their capacity, or to use landfills outside Simcoe.
“I think we have made it abundantly clear we are not in the mood for any new landfills,” said Tay Township Mayor Scott Warnock.
Ramara Township Mayor Bill Duffy said new technology might be the county’s best hope.
“We have six years of (landfill) capacity left and I don’t think you will see a new landfill in Simcoe County,” he said.
Essa Township Mayor David Guergis said the province must convince business and industry to re-think what is produced.
“We are a throw-away society,” he said. “I think we need to push the province to (get manufacturers to) provide things that can be repaired, to reduce waste.”
Rob McCullough, the county’s manager of environmental services, said the strategy must determine more than just where the waste goes.
“It must identify the process and approach we can employ to increase diversion,” he said.
McCullough also said the county needs to know how much waste will need to be handled in the next 20 years.
Such measures as full user-pay for every bag, increasing the recycling container capacity, more depots for bulky goods, clear garbage bags to identify recyclable materials, education and promotion are being considered for the waste management strategy.
It could also consider whether to contract out the process of recycling materials, or build such a facility in Simcoe County. The same choice could be made for organics.
David Payne, also of Stantec, said the waste management strategy is still in its initial stages.
“This is a master-plan exercise that will lead to a strategy,” he said, “to tell us what direction we want to go.”
The public consultation on waste management options will take place Feb. 8, 9 and 10. Times and locations are still to be announced.
Public information sessions have been scheduled for the week of May 3.
Steve Ogden, long-time opponent to Site 41, has presented the county with a long list of signatures asking that the public consultation process, and the reporting of it, be transparent and accurate.
“The process. . . will only succeed if the county listens to the people,” he said in the petition.