KILLALOE – Businesses in the Township of Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards will get a bit of breathing room when the garbage bag tag fee increases to $2.00 later this year.
At the regular council meeting on February 7, council voted to phase-in the increase to businesses only over a three-year span. So while residents will be required to pay the $2.00 fee per bag come sometime in the fall, businesses will be paying a portion of that amount every year, until 2015, when the total fee will be implemented for commercial properties.
The vote stemmed from a heated waste management committee meeting on January 24, where four business owners went head-to-head with council members about the changes coming to the KHR waste sites.
Council has been working on a Municipal Solid Waste Management Strategic Plan for two years, and have held several public consultations on the matter. Space is becoming quite limited at the Killaloe site; according to township representatives.
“The fact remains; we have three years at the Killaloe site and then we have no more life,” Mayor Janice Visneskie said at the council meeting. “The cheapest way to get rid of waste is to put it into a hole. Those days are finished.”
So, the township sent out surveys to ratepayers. Through these consultations, the majority of residents agreed on three objectives when it came down to waste management: that it not be placed ‘in their backyard’ (meaning landfill expansions/utilization was almost out of the question); that it be cost-effective and environmentally-friendly.
A variety of options were explored, including incineration (which proved too costly,) diversion, and exporting.
Council decided that diversion would be the top priority. But, there was still the issue of bagged waste. In a unanimous vote, council decided to export its waste to the Lafleche facility in Moose Creek. The Ottawa Valley Waste Recovery Centre in Pembroke was ruled out due to the $1,000,000.00 buy-in requirement.
According to council, exporting to Lafleche met the three needs of the community. It will not be in their backyards, it is cost-effective, and waste is landfilled in a BioReactor site, which can accelerate decomposition by as much as 15-20 years and is also used to capture methane gas for use as electricity.
“We don’t believe in sending our waste off to someone else and creating a problem for somebody else,” Visneskie explained.
The change brings with it a lofty price tag, however. In order to export waste to Moose Creek, the KHR landfill sites need to have the proper loading areas. Council has decided to close down the Red Rock site because there are not enough people utilizing the site to warrant a $100,000-plus upgrade.
Killaloe will be the main compacting site. All waste from the Round Lake site will have to be transported to Killaloe for compacting and then shipping.
The upgrades will have to be paid for by the taxpayers. At the public meetings, Mayor Visneskie said residents felt it was a fair system, but agreed that they do not want to pay based on their home assessments. She said they also agreed that people who use the most garbage should be paying more.
“It’s difficult to find a solution that is fair to everybody,” Visneskie admitted.
BAG TAGS AND CLEAR BAGS
She added that residents said people who do not divert, should be forced to.
“We have tried, within the means that we have, to divert as much as possible,” Visneskie explained. “This municipality is going to continue that diversion is our number one and we are going to provide you with means to divert and, unanimously, council decided that we were going to charge two dollars a bag.”
The bag tags will supplement the costs for the equipment needed, Visneskie said. However, this means that businesses in the township will be paying much more for their waste than in previous years.
Currently, businesses pay $7.00 per cubic metre (or 12 bags.)
This story continues in the February 16 issue of The Valley Gazette.