2022 Municipal Election – Question of the Week for October 5, 2022

SOUTH DUNDAS – This week, The Leader continues our weekly Question of the Week series in an effort to help inform readers about the candidates seeking election to South Dundas municipal council.

This week’s question – Thinking Green – This week we are asking candidates to think green and think environmentally in South Dundas. Environmental issues are often different for different people. For some it could involve agriculture, or tree cover, or even waste management. Choose an aspect most important to you and tell us what you will do to improve that situation if elected.

All local election candidates were given the questions with a deadline and were limited to approximately 175 words for their response. Only responses received by the deadline given to candidates are published. The Leader reserves the right to edit responses for journalistic-style and word count. Questions were determined by the editorial staff of the newspaper. This seven week series will continue up to the October 24 election. Responses are grouped by the elected office the candidates seek, and listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Mayoral candidates

Jason Broad

South Dundas needs to be a leader in sustainability and mitigating environmental impacts. A clear and concise Waste Management Plan should emphasizes reducing waste generation.
As we continue to talk growth, it affects the importance of delivering a cost effective and accessible waste management service.

We need a plan that has timelines that reflect short-term, mid-term and long-term segments. Action plans with measurable targets needs to be created to ensure we meet our overall plan.

We will increase engagement with residents to build an understanding and awareness of our waste management programs and services.

Today we have one landfill site with a short lifespan, one landfill site that is closed, a recycling program lacking all the elements and a very resident frustrated yard waste program.

We need to commit to creating this plan so our landfills can be expanded, our recycling program involves all the elements and a program for our yard waste that makes your life easier – not more complicated, such roadside pick-up.

Bill Ewing

As your mayor, I would strongly recommend getting back to basics. Reduce, re-use and recycle. Stop the unsorted materials from going into the landfill site. We now have a new garbage and recycling by-law which passed September 26th, 2022. We need to update our residents what changes may be in it.

Recycling Benefits: Conserves energy and reduces air and water pollution. Reduces green house gases and conserves natural resources. Recycling needs to be a daily activity. Recycling can reduce the cost of solid waste collection and transportation of disposal costs – generating revenue from sale of recycled materials.

We need to have a community COMPOST SITE that is operated as a compost site, not a transfer site.

If we compost our own material, it can be sold to the public. It also reduces the costs of our landfill sites operation. To improve the situation the first issue I want to address is to stop the unnecessary trucking of our compost materials to another facility. For immediate attention is to have our own compost site.

Kirsten Gardner

On a larger scale, work has been started to divert waste away from the landfill by using a transfer station.

We have been given some time to get it right with the approval of an expansion at the Matilda landfill.

Only months into our term, this council received the shocking news that the Williamsburg landfill must be closed or receive heavy fines.

Possible new technology could allow us to leverage the by-products that are produced from this landfill to financially benefit our municipality. These partnerships are the way to go green in a small municipality in a big way.

The creation of an environmental committee for our residents (both rural and village) that have a keen interest in environmental projects would be an idea I would propose.

We would then be able to leverage environmental grants for community projects. Let’s continue to do more pilot projects for our residents like the very successful food cycler one. This committee could assist with looking at the compost situation in South Dundas and assist with more tree planting.

Deputy Mayoral candidates

Donald Lewis

The information that was given at the all-candidates night on September 29th was false concerning the Williamsburg landfill. The council of the day was told by the Ministry of the Environment that the landfill was full and the proper regulation procedure had to be followed, or there would be hefty fines to be paid.

The surrounding property was considered as wetland and couldn’t be purchased so that was why the landfill was closed and capped. This landfill will be inspected for the next 50 years.

The Matilda landfill was granted an expansion in 2022 from the environment. Since that time Council has started to switch it over to a transfer station where bins will be filled with household waste, compost, recyclable products, etc. These products will be sold or be taken to other sites.

In 2021, we had a pilot program where 100 families could purchase a food recycler which I believe should continue. If elected I do believe this is the way South Dundas should go.

Marc St. Pierre

Thinking green leads to acting green from the smallest of daily household decisions to the bigger community action plans of collectively reducing damages, waste and emissions in nature. Together, we can continue to promote, contribute, and offer solutions in reducing greenhouse emissions such as:

Ensuring landfill sites and curbside pickup are properly managed by reducing the volume of recyclables mixed with household waste and by reducing the need to burn which releases chemicals and pollutes the air. Providing easy solutions for composting by increasing the number of compost days or provide compost curbside pickup along with the continued use of the landfill site.

Continue to plant trees on Municipal owned properties. New developments should have a minimum number of trees and bushes planted along roadways and within asphalt parking lots which reduce heat, absorb harmful pollutants and improve air quality.

Condition developers to use “light impact development” methods that use natural drainage processes such as planted bioswales and storm ponds to infiltrate storm runoff to protect water quality. Simple solutions to fight climate change!

Tammy Thom

Waste management is a serious concern for our municipality. The Matilda Landfill site nearing the end of its lifespan, and sits on agricultural land which may lead to issues with leachate. Reopening the Williamsburg site is not the answer, as it was considered nearly full when it was closed. This site sits at the start of the Barkley Drainage creek which ends up in Nation River. The issues with reopening this landfill site are too numerous to consider.

We must act immediately to come up with solutions that will serve us long term and meet the escalating environmental standards. The answer to this may be a transfer station that will send waste to a site such as Moose Creek. I’d like to look at how other places deal with their waste. With the lack of land in Europe, European countries are on the cutting edge of efficiency.

We need a long term plan so that we are not ‘caught behind the eight ball’ with an emergency that is incredibly costly to our environment and our wallets.

Councillor Candidates

Michael Burton

We’ve closed one landfill site and are close to shuttering the second . Shutting down of compost sites in both villages sent the message that they aren’t important, which is not realistic.

Without viable options we are putting everything back into landfill and will soon be spending monies to transport it out.

I’d work on initiatives through other levels of government. People do little or no recycling to the point where refundable items become trash.

In the meantime it’s important to work on educational programs emphasizing the benefits of recycling.

Our other challenge is tree canopy. It’s the responsibility of everyone to bring our percentage, which is close to 8 per cent, back to at least the lowest acceptable percentage of 10 per cent. Tree programs, both residential and commercial, exist for groups seeking financial assistance.

Maybe new by-laws need to be put in place – if you cut one tree down replace it with two.

The agriculture community is looking at devastation of land due to tract farming and is trying to find alternatives to keep their businesses vital while maintaining their livelihoods at the same time.

Trevor Riopelle

This was definitely a hot topic at the all candidates meeting last week. Currently I sit on the environmental and eco committee for the City of Cornwall. This committee has opened up my eyes to some issues, some solutions and some progressive steps to those solutions.

Here are three things I would like to look at further. I would like to see a food waste collection system, composting, and distribution of the compost material within this municipality. Secondly, we need to look into a local facility to sort and ship out our recycling. It would save costs of shipping our recycling to a sorting facility, create jobs and ensure that our recycling waste is being recycled properly and not being misplaced in landfills. Lastly, we need to look at our landfills. We could purchase high efficiency incinerators. I know this would be an expensive start-up cost, but we could share these costs with our neighbouring municipalities. This would help solve a lot of ours and their current waste issues. We are on the edge of change.

Tom Smyth

I am a big believer in recycling. We’ve done a good job so far with our blue box and green box programs, but more could be done to add a brown box program for food scraps, as well as expand our yard waste collection.

Now more than ever, as our landfill is getting full, and the possibility of having to pay to truck our garbage away comes into reality, eliminating as much organic waste from our household garbage will be top priority.

This organic waste could be used by our local gardeners, as well as a soil supplement for farmers in our area. An official compost site that was previously not economically viable to build and maintain, now becomes more practical.

As I mentioned during the All-Candidates meeting, when our circumstances change and we are forced to find a fix to a problem, we can do it, and do it quite well.

If elected, I will be pursuing organic waste compost facilities, and I will be looking into a full scale recycling centre.

Cole Veinotte

The term “Green” can mean many different things to different people.

We could talk about the greenspaces in South Dundas and how their maintenance is mostly handled by an incredible group of people who selflessly go out in their free time and weed/maintain these gardens and parks so that their fellow residents can enjoy them.

I am pleased with the gardens/trees that the municipality has put across South Dundas during recent construction projects, but I believe we now need to work together to put a maintenance plan in place.

We have great people in the community that are willing to help but we need money in place to support them and some form of organization and recognition for these folks.

With our waste issues in the municipality, I think we need to do better at educating the community on recycling programs and look at implementing a green bin for weekly compost pickup like our friends in North Grenville. I would also like the municipality to look at the “Pitch in Canada” Program.

Danielle Ward

The environmental services a municipality provides are arguably the most important and most expensive assets a community has.

For perspective, in 2022 South Dundas budgeted $6.35 million for environmental services (water/sewer services, tree removal, landfill/recycling and municipal drains).

Looking at the next four years, all components will, based on existing plans, require significant investment, estimated at $6.6 million collectively.

In order to keep debt low we need to find alternative ways to request funding from upper levels of government.

If elected I will advocate for collective procurement and service sharing for water and sewer services with our neighbours, to reduce costs and improve services, while providing us the ability to apply to more grant opportunities with third parties and the government.

I plan to leverage new provincial funding programs for curbside recycling to enhance curbside services potentially examining the implementation of curbside yard waste collection. I am determined to implement a better procurement process for drainage contractors and I believe we can utilize the existing commemorative tree program to help reforest public spaces.

Lloyd Wells

When it comes to the environment and South Dundas, it is hard to just focus on one aspect when there is a lot of what we do that affects the environment around us. In regards to waste management and recycling within this community, I feel by adding more recycling containers throughout our community, would lessen the waste going in to our landfill. We added some dual recycling and garbage bins throughout the malls, which is great, but I feel like we could add more of these containers to other areas of our community such as the parks, waterfront and beaches. We could also see if it’s possible to create a community cleanup day, either in the spring or fall. Maybe we could offer community hours for high school students that students require to graduate. This will help keep our community clean and will help our the environment. It will help reduce waste going to our landfill that can recycled and re-purposed. All will benefit the environment.

Jeff Welsh

All aspects concerning the environment are important. In being asked to choose only, one aspect, I would have to say waste management.

If elected, first and foremost I would investigate obtaining more property for our landfill. Having owned and operated a successful scrap metal business, I believe I can help introduce a more efficient recycling plan which would include not only the recyclables we have now, but also metals and wood. I would propose looking into introducing a brown bin program to South Dundas and reopening previous compost sites. Less waste going to a landfill gains longer life of landfill.

I would suggest that we consider purchasing municipal garbage trucks which would create jobs while saving the taxpayers dollars in the long run. In closing, I think South Dundas is a great place to live with great residents.

With that being said I believe the taxpayers should also be heard on certain aspects concerning the municipality by way of online surveys. I think it would be great to let the people have a voice too!

Next week’s question…

Vision matters – Next week we will mix things up and ask the mayor and deputy mayor candidates to answer a question about governing at the upper tier. Councillor candidates will be asked to have some vision at the lower tier level of government.

See the October 12, 2022 issue of The Leader for the question and their answers.

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