The NorPen Regional Services Board is seeking a new location for the landfill site to serve St. Anthony and area.
Gerry Gros, chairman of the board, told The Northern Pen the search is just beginning.
The action comes following complaints from local people that the current site is not big enough to handle the waste from Subregion 1, which takes in St. Anthony to Cook's Harbour and L'Anse aux Meadows.
So far, the former Cook’s Harbour landfill site has been considered and Gros says they’ll see if there’s a pit available that can handle waste near the St. Anthony Airport.
But there's much to do, he said.
“We've got to do some research before we can make any kind of decision because, regardless of where we put it, there’s going to be a cost involved,” Gros told The Northern Pen.
He hopes they can reach a decision in the next couple of months.
“Regardless of what direction we take, it’s not going to make everybody happy,” he said. “But we have to try to find the best solution that suits the majority of people and keeps our costs down.”
In recent months, there have been complaints of the landfill site exceeding its intended capacity.
St. Anthony town council, in particular, has been voicing concern.
“I'm of firm belief that it's outgrown its space... it's not big enough in my opinion to service the area,” St. Anthony mayor Desmond McDonald told the Northern Pen earlier, in March 14 story.
McDonald also worried about how the current site’s proximity to the town could affect the environment and aesthetics of the area.
“We have a growing tourism industry, and people's mindsets are changing around waste and how they view the landscape and the beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said.
“That's not something you want on your front door... there's always plastic bags blowing around in the trees.”
Gros, who lives in Anchor Point, outside of Subregion 1, says he has not had the opportunity to visit the landfill site recently.
He says he's heard contrasting information about its condition.
“The general population thinks it’s a disaster but some of my staff thinks it’s okay,” he said.
But he’s taking the concerns seriously and firmly believes the site is too close to the community of St. Anthony.
Whether a new site will be the long-term solution, Gros says, depends on results from the province’s comprehensive review of its waste management strategy.
As proposed, the strategy would see the Northern Peninsula’s waste shipped to Norris Arm in Central Newfoundland.
Gros has stressed repeatedly that this is not financially feasible. Transportation costs and tipping fees, he says, will simply be too much.
The board is also researching different technologies and other alternatives.
Gros says the board remains open to suggestions.
“We’ll certainly welcome any recommendations or suggestions from anybody,” he said. “If somebody has got a good suggestion, we’re certainly willing to listen.”