Toward the end of the town’s regular council meeting held on Wednesday night, July 26, ongoing problems were once again brought forth.
The town feels as though Eastern Waste Management’s dumping site on Incinerator Road is not receiving the proper care.
“Eastern Waste Management is not doing their job in Harbour Grace,” said Coun. Kathy Tetford.
She went on to question whether or not other towns were having similar issues with their dumps.
“Not as far as I can tell,” responded Mayor Terry Barnes. “Look at Whitbourne, for example. Nothing there is nearly as messy as ours.”
The main concern from the town was the amount of shingles piled up at the site and what sort of fire hazard such a build-up would pose.
“It seems like a fire hazard to me,” Barnes went on to say. “I know we’ve got a great fire department here in the town, but even still. (If) someone decides to light a fire nearby, or whatever else, that could go up in flames, fast.”
An original motion was made by Tetford to shut the dump down, which was seconded by Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams. However, Coun. Gord Stone questioned the implications for residents and the town if the decision was made to close the dump.
“I agree there’s an issue here, don’t get me wrong, but I think we should make sure we’re prepared to deal with what comes after closing down the dump,” Stone said.
Ultimately, the town came to a conclusion to put a stop-work order – a notice for workers, employers and all those involved in such a site to suspend work and business operations immediately – in place for the dump.
Eastern Waste Management’s response
Eastern Waste Management chairperson Ed Grant told The Compass the Thursday morning word from the town regarding the order had yet to be received, although he was a little surprised to hear the news.
Grant followed up with The Compass later Thursday afternoon to explain that Eastern Waste Management was ready and willing to have a meeting with the town regarding the matter. If that was not possible, then they would agree to the town’s wishes and decommission the site, he said.
“We do hope to meet with council at some point to discuss this, but we’re not in charge of whether or not the place stays open,” Grant said.
“It’s their community, and if they do decide to shut it down, then hopefully they’re prepared for the implications that follow, and understand how their residents are going to be affected.”
These implications, as Grant explained, would likely involve more waste being deposited in places where it should not be, such as the ends of roads and streets.
Grant also told The Compass that Eastern Waste Management has been much more active at the site than council believes, adding they visit the dump approximately 10 times per month. However, the site is also one of the busiest in the area, according to Grant, and it is difficult to keep up with everything that goes on.
“We’re in the process of removing the shingles as we speak,” Grant added. “We were originally working on a plan to recycle them to use for a roadwork resource, but that hasn’t worked out yet, so we’re doing what we can.”
Grant also told The Compass he feels as though better communication and cooperation between Harbour Grace and Eastern Waste Management could solve many of their issues.
Grant noted the dumping site on Incinerator Road has a significant amount of illegal activity going on.
“Nothing compares to the amount of illegal activity that goes on at that site,” said Grant.
“There’s a massive scavenging problem, there’s an illegal entrance being made in the back of it, and there are contractors dumping supplies there far too often. Those are also major factors behind why this dump is the only site without electronic recycling.
“I’m sure council is aware of these issues, and that’s what I mean when I say we need more cooperation.”
Despite Eastern Waste Management’s apparent willingness to remedy the issues, Grant noted that if council still wishes to close the dump, then they would abide by their wishes.
“It’ll take a few weeks, but we’ll do it, if they’re sure it’s what they want done,” Grant said.
“We’ll clean up the area, bring it back to its original state, and then decommission it.”
As of Thursday afternoon, no plans have been put in place for a meeting between council and Eastern Waste Management nor is there any concrete plans regarding the stop-work order.