Landfill action plan adopted

SDG Counties' action plan missing piece of South Dundas landfill expansion.

SOUTH DUNDAS – A regional waste management study and action plan for the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry adopted October 17 is the final piece of the puzzle for an approved increase at South Dundas’ Matilda landfill.

South Dundas CAO Shannon Geraghty explained the municipality was awaiting the SDG regional report before moving forward fully on a 40,000 cubic metre increase to the existing landfill. That increase, approved by Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks on September 30, 2021 allows for more solid waste on the existing landfill footprint.

South Dundas applied for the capacity increase earlier in 2021.

“South Dundas did proceed with an environmental compliance approval amendment to expand the permittable volume to the Matilda Landfill,” he explained. The additional volume at the landfill will go on top of the existing waste pile. “Therefore not expanding the waste footprint at this time.”

The approval from the province has conditions which included purchasing Contamination Attenuation Zone properties adjacent to the landfill, modifying access to the site, and how the landfill pile is covered. Those property purchases were recently finalized by South Dundas council.

Geraghty said the capacity expansion at the Matilda landfill means there is 7.5 years remaining for the site based on current solid waste volume.

With capacity increase approved, the missing piece of South Dundas’ waste management puzzle was the Counties’ report.

“We are awaiting the final report to determine the path forward in regard to the transfer station and collaboration with our local neighbours,” said Geraghty.

That report, along with an action plan, was adopted by SDG Counties Council at their final meeting of this term.

SDG Councillor Tony Fraser (North Dundas) addressed his concerns of how binding the Regional Waste Management plan is during the October 17 Counties Council meeting. (Screencapture via SDG Counties Youtube channel)

The report action plan outlines four goals which include a focus on collaboration as recycling changes to an Individual Producer Responsibility basis; report and compare financial data for solid waste management in the region; adopt a regional ‘base’ level of service across all participating municipalities; and have the six lower-tier municipalities commit to pursuing a regional approach for solid waste management. The last point was a bone of contention by some members of Counties Council.

Councillors Tony Fraser and Al Armstrong (both North Dundas) were adamant that it be made clear in adopting the SDG plan, it did not lock North Dundas in to being a part of any regional landfill plan moving forward.

“I believed this was going to be a networking effort,” Fraser said. “It’s good information, I am supportive with everyone having access to information. But I’m having difficulty with all municipalities being forced into this, and at this point I am not comfortable with that. ”

Armstrong added on, “As we went down this avenue it has been maintained every time we’ve asked the question that no one community will be forced to go into [a regional landfill] if it’s a majority vote. I want to make sure that is still the case before you get North Dundas to endorse these four steps.”

Councillor Lyle Warden (South Glengarry) disagreed with the North Dundas councillors’ stance.

“If we are going to go through this process and a majority of municipalities say we want to do this – it’s no different than putting water and sewers in Maxville. Not everybody at council supported this but the majority did and the residents pay and connect on,” Warden said. “If we do get to a point where there’s enough support to do a regional waste [landfill] – which I hope we can – then I think North Dundas would have to be forced to participate. I know that is not what my colleagues want to hear but we are SD and G and I think if majority of councils want this that North Dundas would come to the table.”

Warden Carma Williams said forcing lower-tier municipalities to join a regional landfill is not part of the plan the Counties is presenting.

“I think we have to respect everyone’s sphere of jurisdiction,” added Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas). “The motion does speak to that. It does not say ‘they must’.”

SDG Transportation Director Ben deHaan, who spearheaded the regional waste management study process explained that adopting the plan did not commit lower-tier municipalities further.

“What’s being requested is that the municipality commit to having someone sitting around the table talking with everyone else. That’s what the expectation is there. Whatever is discussed around that table, everyone has the opportunity to say ‘I think our municipality should participate in that’ or ‘no that is not for us.’”

With that clarification settled, council unanimously voted to adopt the action plan. Next steps include presenting the plan to all six lower-tier councils, after the next council terms begin.

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