Today, HRM began community engagement on the solid waste issue when they launched the online portion on the new engagement portal: http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca.
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 http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca 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