Nothing changes irrespective of how one voices one's opinion, as after a political party wins an election your views are generally considered stupid and irrelevant until the next election rolls around.
The Provincial Waste Management Strategy was developed in the early 2000s. The focus of the strategy was geared toward municipalities, local service districts, and unincorporated communities.
Initially cabin areas were never publicly identified as being part of this strategy and rightly so as the greater majority of cabin owners live full time outside of their cabin areas where they pay taxes for garbage collection and subsequently support waste management activities.
To date, seven waste management boards have been established on the island. No doubt the boards, made up of representatives from the various city, town, and community councils, are looking for ways to decrease or maintain the costs of providing garbage collection services in their respective areas and cabin areas are certainly seen as a cash cow in that regard.
In 2015 selected cabin owners on the Avalon Peninsula were included in the waste management strategy. This came about without any prior notice that such a service was being considered or requested and a fee of $180 per property per year is assessed irrespective if one availed of the service or not.
Interest is charged on unpaid accounts, collection agencies are engaged, your credit rating is affected, and people are taken to court for non payment. The previous PC government obviously knew that this would not be an easy sell so “quiet” legislation was passed in 2012/13 which gave the respective waste management boards the authority to do all of the above.
The whole process is very dictatorial and appeared to be a hallmark of the previous PC administration and regrettably it is embraced by the new Liberal government. Today as it happens this extra garbage collection fee is compounded all that more by the recently passed government budget which will have a further devastating impact on the financial resources of the “not so well off” residents of the province.
It goes without saying that as the greater majority of cabin owners are not in favor of or participate in the service, then it becomes an extremely contentious issue and will not go away. Of course the respective waste management boards can simply used the legislation and the law to charge interest on unpaid accounts and sue accordingly with a big thank you to the ministers who sponsored and support this process.
Despite being a provincial strategy, the various boards are free to do whatever they feel is acceptable for their respective areas. Some boards will be very aggressive in promoting this waste management strategy, as we are seeing with Eastern Waste Management, while other boards may not include cabin sites in their game plan.
The fact remains that in order for this Provincial Waste Management Strategy to work it requires everyone to buy in and support the various initiatives. This requires in-depth consultation with everyone involved, which did not occur regarding the cabin garbage collection service as administered by Eastern Waste Management.
For those cabin owners who have not been affected as yet, it is something that requires your attention given the government supported the dictatorial way in which this strategy is administered.
The point to be noted here is that if you own a cabin in Newfoundland, be prepared to pay a garbage collection fee without any consultation or say in this whole process.
Brett Wareham writes from Petty Harbour