Sandy Casselman
Record Staff

MORRISBURG – The topic of waste management dominated a recent Municipality of South Dundas special meeting.

The July 13 session began with a presentation from DFA Infrastructure International Inc.’s Derek Ali outlining a potential regional waste management project for municipalities within the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry. This was followed by updates, recommendations and, subsequently, decisions made about the local municipality’s landfill expansion project, as well as its compost depot days.

While the first presentation was primarily an information sharing exercise, as well as an opportunity to gauge interest in a joint waste management project, the latter two items were current South Dundas operational items needing political attention. In the end, politicians have decided to look at potential transfer station options, making a long-term waste management decision within the year, changing the dates of Morrisburg’s compost depot days, and re-examining the landfill fee schedule.

“The collection and disposal of waste is the municipality’s responsibility, however the way in which waste is managed when being disposed of is regulated by the province under the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks (MECP),” chief administrative officer (CAO) Shannon Geraghty said in his report. “Therefore, there are only a few options permitted by the ministry that the municipality may consider at this time.”

The four options given for the current landfill situation included the expansion of the Matilda Landfill, the construction of a Matilda transfer station, the construction of a new disposal site, or the use of a private disposal site. Geraghty’s report included a table listing what each option would entail, cost comparisons, and the pros and cons associated with each alternative. In the end, council voted in favour of the transfer station.

Geraghty said he would bring an action report back to council later this month or in August regarding this decision. Local politicians also requested that opportunities to tour different types of neighbouring transfer stations be explored. While Mayor Steven Byvelds expressed concern about cost to taxpayers, noting that changes should be done gradually and with forethought, he also noted that residents needed to understand that waste costs money.

“To transfer all the costs over to users in one or two years is too much. We’re going to get a lot of push back on that. Residents of South Dundas have to understand that their waste costs money,” he said. “I don’t think we should make a rash decision. Make a decision in the next six months, and in 12 months come to a conclusion about where South Dundas is going with garbage in the long-term. The challenges that got dealt to us was nobody’s fault. Let’s look forward to see what we can do for South Dundas to make this work.”

The discussion surrounding compost was lengthy and scattered, covering a review of the new depot days’ initiative, as well as general composting logistics, legalities, and opportunities. In the end, where the Compost Depot Days were concerned, Deputy Mayor Kirsten Gardner’s request to change some of the dates was agreed to by all present. Geraghty said he would look into the possibility of moving some of Morrisburg’s November dates to allow for one day each in August, September, and October. Meanwhile, Iroquois’ depot days should remain the same for now. Geraghty is set to bring an updated information report back to council as soon as possible, as communicating changes to residents is time sensitive.

The compost issue also led to discussion about landfill fees and yard waste. It was noted that all South Dundas’ residents are permitted to bring yard waste to the landfill for free, provided it does not contain large branches. Councillor Lloyd Wells noted complaints from residents about inconsistencies in fees, which led to a decision to review the overall fee schedule this fall.

“At the latest, September, we’ll look at those fees. We can determine what can be charged fairly for what’s coming in,” Byvelds said, noting that residents should not be charged for bringing in steel, electronics, or tires, as these are either cost neutral or revenue sources for the township.

Council also provided Geraghty with their feedback on the regional waste management presentation, indicating that they are open to potential partnerships around waste management, whether it’s with SDG as a whole or with one or two municipal neighbours. The meeting’s reports, as well as the recorded session, are available through the municipality’s website.