If residents of Conception Bay North need to replace a couch, tear up a carpet or toss out an old mattress, they will no longer have to wait for scheduled bulk garbage collection or take a trip to St. John's to get rid of it, at least not after this fall.
Eastern Waste Management officials have confirmed tender submissions closed Aug. 8 for the demolition of the old incinerator building in Harbour Grace just off the Veterans Memorial Highway and will be replaced with a new waste recovery facility.
The tender recipient had not been announced as of Aug. 15 but is expected to be in the $500,000 range.
"It is looking like the facility will be functional by mid-to-late fall," said deputy mayor of Carbonear Ches Ash during a sit-down interview with The Compass Aug. 14. Ash is also a member of the Eastern Regional Services Board for Eastern Waste Management.
This new facility will feature large bins designated for different types of bulk waste, including furniture, metals and household appliances.
"Bulk waste does not remain (at the facility) on a permanent basis, it is simply a drop-off centre." Ash explained.
What to expect
Currently bulk garbage is collected on a schedule based on contracts with each individual town - if they so choose - and its chosen collectors. Carbonear, for example, has three collections a year, while Harbour Grace does not offer bulk garbage pickup at all.
"I just reshingled my roof and I had to pay to have the old shingles shipped to Robin Hood Bay," explained Don Coombs, mayor of Harbour Grace.
This new facility will be free-of-charge for residential use.
Ed Grant, chairperson for the Eastern Regional Services Board, said when the new facility opens it is expected to be open three days a week - Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - and employee two people.
Ash believes the site will be very busy because of the population of the region this facility will cover.
Some residents will opt to bring their bulk materials to the already active Old Perlican location or the Cavendish location, which the tender has been awarded with an anticipated completion around the same time as Harbour Grace.
Ash stressed that commercial waste would not be collected at this facility and contractors or businesses would not be able to avail of its services.
Hazardous waste will not be allowed at this facility and will still need to be transported directly to Robin Hood Bay, except in areas where towns have scheduled pick ups.
The facility will host a similar set up of bins as the Robin Hood Bay location, Ash said.
The two employees will ensure the bulk waste is dispersed into the correct bin and not contain hazardous material or recyclables.
"I live in Mount Pearl and I can go to Robin Hood Bay on a Saturday and dispose of my bulk waste free of charge," said Grant. "These facilities will allow municipalities across the region the same opportunities."
Coombs showed his delight to the facility noting the town was "very happy" and "looking forward to it."
The cost of operating this particular facility wasn't disclosed, but Grant mentioned it is covered by Eastern Waste Management.
"There is absolutely no cost to the community," he said. "It's a win-win for everybody."
The construction was supposed to begin last year but was held up because, Grant explained, a land ownership issue.
Land where the incinerator building is sitting currently belongs to a debunked group called the Conception Bay North Incinerator Association, which included eight municipalities in the region - Clarke's Beach, Bay Roberts, Spaniard's Bay, Upper Island Cove, Harbour Grace, Carbonear, Victoria and Salmon Cove.
Grant said two towns had questions, which caused a delay in the process. The remaining six were on board almost immediately after meeting with officials from Eastern Waste Management.
Finally, after discussion the other two towns joined the fold and a request for tenders was placed.
Illegal dumping has been an issue all across the region, especially in recent months resulting in fines and increased security measures.
Coombs admits his town is affected as well, noting without a bulk pick up service, it's quite common to walk into the woods and see all sorts of items.
Carbonear has had its share of problems as well. The town municipal enforcement officer, Gord Parsons, has cameras set up in areas known for heavy illegal dumping.
With all municipalities on board, the project could be quite successful and help Eastern Waste Management reach their goal of a 50% waste reduction in the region, as noted on the organization's website.
"If someone can bring their bulk waste, like a couch, into camping areas and dump it there, they should have no problem bringing it to the Waste Recovery Facility," Ash said. "It should held reduce the (bulk waste) around towns in Conception Bay North."