Harbour Grace waste recovery facility sadly inadequate, says writer

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I feel the need to express my opinion of the so-called waste management transfer station in Harbour Grace, which opened in late November.

letter to editor

When we in the Carbonear-Harbour Grace area heard we would have our own waste management transfer site, I felt it was a much-needed service. I thought it would at least curtail the dumping of garbage in the woods and streams. It would help the householder get rid of the things that our sanitary workers could not collect.

Recently I had the opportunity to visit this transfer station. I had seen the trucks and excavators working the site for months, so I expected to see a clear area with large recycling bins marked for the various materials they would hold; a place where you could back into the bins that you could use to throw you material into.

What a shock I was in for as I approached the gates. I noted that the old incinerator building was no longer there. In its place was a small shack not much bigger than a dog house. This housed two employees to shelter them from the elements when not directing traffic.

To my surprise there was no electricity to this shack, even though the electricity is accessible. There also was no bathroom facility for the men and heat was provided by a small kerosene heater; a recipe for disaster if the proper ventilation not be employed.

The grounds were levelled out and the area had signs posted as to where materials were to be placed. Just dump it on the ground in the right area.

I’m sure we have gone back 30 or 40 years in time before the incinerator was there. Plastic bags and paper were blowing around and into the wind, all over the place and into the nearby woods. We have no idea what was contained in those garbage bags.

It is my opinion that pretty soon we will have another population of rodents and feral cats in that area.

I would like to know what “Einstein” decided to remove the old incinerator building. This could have been used to store the various bins for the waste materials. If the steel structure was not safe then at least they could have used the concrete floors and walls. This would have contained the debris from blowing around. I call this simple waste mismanagement.

A kindergarten student could have designed a better site, one that would have included a concrete pad to sit bins on, and bins. I wonder what will happen with spring thaw? That area will be one big mud hole.

Just a side note: has anyone ever thought about the high rate of various cancers in the area? Could the old incinerator have played a role in this? It not only burnt garbage from the CBN area but also from overseas flights and foreign ships. Could the fly ash and toxins have polluted not only the air but also our water supply?

I ask whomever is responsible for this waste mismanagement to rectify this immediately. We deserve better or this will become another black eye for the Carbonear-Harbour Grace area.

— Kevin Martland writes from Carbonear

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