Otter Lake Landfill - Current Summary

From John Cascadden:

I have posted some of the following comments to an enlightening news article found here: Heated words exchanged at Otter Lake landfill public meeting

My comments are as follows: Only eight more meetings are available to the public if one looks at the Shape Your City Halifax Solid Waste Management website as of today (Friday Sep 20, 2013).  There are also four "stakeholder" meetings which are not detailed with date, location and times on the aforementioned website, but I am not sure if public attendance at those venues is allowed or indeed wanted.
As for allowing changes to Otter Lake; everyone I know would not be against improvements that bettered the performance and output of the Front End Processor (FEP) and Waste Stabilization Facility (WSF) protective services.  Contrary to the Stantec report, and HRM's continued musings, the FEP & WSF are essential to providing the best processing and management of the solid waste materials that come to the Otter Lake facility.

Even when the Otter Lake facility closes (sometime around 2023-2024), the next landfill will require these services to operate effectively, and to protect residents and the environment.  The only technology that could possibly replace them is one that renders all the waste material it processes into inert matter that poses no threat to the environment or public health.  There are a few such technologies being touted around the world, but not many have full size solid waste processing facilities in operation at this time; so these technologies though they look promising, are but a pipe dream at this time.

HRM Council & Staff should be proud that the public is willing to fund the operations at the World Class Otter Lake facility; but instead, by their actions thus far, they seem to be bent on turning back the clock and going to a "common landfill" arrangement… even though they say no decision has been made.  Perhaps Council has an open mind, but they are allowing a flawed public engagement process to continue to spread false information, and are asking the public to make an "informed decision" based on tainted "facts"..

In 1995, the public said quite clearly that a common landfill would NEVER again be allowed to operate within HRM, when public participants as part of the Community Stakeholders Committee created the "Integrated Waste/Resource Management Study" document.  It is the concepts found in this document that have provided us with the excellent solid waste management solution we have today.  Is this solution perfect, no.  Has it reached all its goals, not yet, but it is still moving toward achieving them.

Today's Otter Lake landfill implementation provides a far better foundation to build on in order to improve on how solid waste materials are processed in the future.  Way better than returning to commonly used technologies and processes that are still shown to be less than acceptable when we look at how most other North American municipalities manage their solid waste materials.  We want to move forward, not backwards.  And we have existing signed legal Agreements between the Public & HRM, and HRM & the Landfill Operator (Mirror NS), that if honoured will continue to keep Otter Lake operating safely until this landfill site is retired.  All Provincial parties have spoken through a unanimous resolution in the NS Legislature that they support keeping Otter Lake's protective services in place, and the NS Environment Minister a said this in a letter sent to the Mayor.  So one wonders why does HRM keep moving forward with their assault on Otter Lake, what is their justification?  HRM's Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Mike Labrecque says the 2006 edition of the Regional Plan gives them the right to conduct this review process, but I say is does not give HRM Staff the right to disseminate false information to the public.  To me this is a fraudulent activity that Regional Council should shutdown immediately.

A rebirth of the Community Stakeholders Committee (CSC) could provide us with the best way ahead.  HRM has spent over $600000 to force feed the public a consultant-based waste management solution that the public never asked for, and have thus far resoundingly rejected at the two public engagements that have occurred on September 18 & 19, 2013.  The flaws in the consultant's report have been pointed out as early as April 2013, but HRM Staff have not corrected them in their presentations to the public, nor even acknowledged that the flaws exist.  The Community Monitoring Committee (CMC) is the public's watch-dog for Otter Lake activities, and they, along with many other sources have provided HRM Staff with documents that factually show where the flaws in the consultant's report exist.  Is it any wonder that the public's faith in the integrity of municipal bureaucracy has been severely eroded?

It is time for the communities who are not living adjacent to the Otter Lake facility to add their voices to that of the local communities.  At some time in the future, a new landfill site will need to be established.  We do not want anything less effective and safe in operation as the present Otter Lake facility to ever be established in another HRM community.  Nobody wants to live near a landfill, but the last 14+ years have shown that today's Otter Lake solution is way better than the commonly implemented alternatives.

Auto correct got me a couple of times in my online postings, hopefully I have fixed them all for this message.  Also I added and edited some additional text.  At any rate I think I get my points across.

If you know of any residents and groups outside of the local Otter Lake communities.  I ask that you please forward this message to them.  HRM's song and dance team will be coming around two times to each of the following locations: Cole Harbour Place, Bedford Hammonds Plains Community Centre, Halifax Forum, Lake & Shore Community Recreation Centre in Porter's Lake.  If the two Town Hall meetings were any indication, we need to reach out to the local residents to help prepare them for the misinformation that we expect the public engagements to disperse.  Dates, times, and locations and more information concerning these public engagements can be found here:  Engagement Event Schedule

Best Regards, Cas (John Cascadden)
Hatchet Lake, Nova Scotia

Solid Waste Community Engagement Has Begun

Solid Waste Community Engagement has begun.
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Let HRM Know What You Think

Today, HRM began community engagement on the solid waste issue when they launched the online portion on the new engagement portal:

As you may know, the Community Monitoring Committee has been opposed to the closure of the elements at the landfill facility that provide community and environmental protection to the local communities of Beechville, Lakeside, Timberlea and Prospect. In particular, Stantec recommended to HRM that they close the Front-end Processing Facility, the Waste Stabilization Facility, and reduce the liners in the landfill. Their vision is of a "truck and dump" system where there is no check on what is being brought to the landfill, it all just gets buried. That would include raw organics, recyclables, and hazardous wastes. Such a system would break provincial solid waste regulations and HRM's own written agreement with the local communities, signed when the landfill was established.

Further, HRM is considering increasing the height of the landfill so it can operate 23 years longer than originally planned. Otter Lake is scheduled to close 10 years from now. HRM is now considering keeping it open until 2046.

HRM is also considering building more waste management facilities at Otter Lake, including an outdoor compost curing pad for the immature compost coming out of the compost facilities in Goodwood and Burnside. That would mean that about 50,000 tonnes of organic material would be cured outdoors, only 3 kms from existing homes in Lakeside.

The Minister of the Environment has told HRM they will not be allowed to close these facilities that provide community and environmental protection. The Premier and the leaders of the Liberal and Conservatives have said they will not allow HRM to close these facilities. All members of the Legislature voted to ensure these facilities are kept open. The CMC has told HRM they have a contract with the local community that precludes them from closing the facilities. Yet senior staff and Council are considering trying to do exactly that.

It is your turn to speak up. Go to and tell HRM what you think about them reneging on a written agreement with the local community and turning the clock back on community and environmental protection. Get your friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members to do the same. In particular, please encourage your contacts in other parts of HRM to stand up for our community and support us online.

Also, while online, take a look at the consultation schedule. In particular, there are two Town Hall meetings on September 18th and 19th at Exhibition Park, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. We need your help in filling Exhibition Park to overflowing on both of those days. We need to send a strong, unified message to HRM that we will not allow them to renege on their agreement to provide community and environmental protection in return for having a landfill site.


Ken Donnelly, Consultant
Community Monitoring Committee
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