I don’t always talk dirty but when I do it’s about trash. Still, when it comes to trash, there’s no better trash talker around these parts than Holly Hughes.
Holly and a small committed group that comprise Sault North Waste Management Council (SNWMC) have spent the past eight years writing their hearts out for one government and foundation grant after another and all for the love of the Havilland dump (actually ‘waste disposal site’ but we’ll get to that in a bit).
In 2007, SNWMC was ignited into action when the government triggered a spate of garbage dump closures in between the areas north of the Sault and Montreal River.
“At the time we got word from the Ministry of Natural Resources that other dumps in the area were closing. We discovered at that point we were on a short road to having them all closed,” elaborated Holly. We found out there was going to be a meeting at Mountain View school about the dump. We were told in the fall that it was going to be closed in the spring. So that’s when we sprang into action and decided to get together as a whole area. MNR coordinated getting all the different groups together. We met at the Fire Hall in Aweres Township and formed a Committee. As a group we were able to develop a relationship and take on the business of changing the outcome.”
Today, within this catchment, there are just two areas where rural folk can off load their garbage- Montreal River and Havilland. The Montreal River dump is sitting pretty for now but 6,000 northern residents are worried about the remaining life span of the Havilland dump- a dismal 20 years before its lights out.
One of the first moves made by SNWMC was to have the Havilland site changed from a ‘dump’ to a ‘waste disposal site’. The boundaries of a waste disposal site are much broader allowing for the expansion of the old ‘dump’. However, the greatest variance between a dump and a waste disposal site is, of the latter, the level of monitoring required by the Ministry of the Environment.
The added due diligence also means added bucks to maintain the Havilland site. Engineering studies and the installation and monitoring of a well was a ding to the wallet just over $150, 000. The need of a well is to monitor the ground water for toxic leeching from the dump site. Though there are strict regulations regarding what can and can’t be disposed of in the waste site the guideline is obviously susceptible to the discretion of individuals dumping. The Fenwick waste disposal site in Goulais River was closed several years ago “almost overnight” due to leeching said Holly.
Diverting recyclable materials from the Havilland site is an obvious and critical action that could extend the lifespan of the waste disposal site. And so here is the challenge presented to residents north of the Sault and the SNWMC.
Back in 2007 local contractor, Greg Long of GT Waste, collaborated with SNWMC to organize curbside recycling for residents north of the Sault – primarily areas up to Agawa, Pancake Bay, Searchmont and the Mission.
“When we found that people were participating in the curbside recycling service we were easily able to find funding to do it,” recalled Holly. “Then a couple of years ago the only way we were able to continue getting funding was to expand or change the service in some way. When we looked at the amount that we were taking in, and the fact that we were putting out bins to see if anyone was interested and they were, then we decided to add curbside for cardboard and hardboard because we could get funding to expand the service. Including cardboard and hardboard recycling really made a significant difference in what was being diverted from going to the dump.”
The Committee utilized grants from various Ministries and foundations to continue curbside recycling for seven years. However funding from such entities is always temporary and SNWMC found out in August of 2014 that their luck had run out.
“We were told ‘sorry’ but this was supposed to be temporary funding. All that’s left in the pot now is a very small amount for administration,” commented Holly.
SNWMC has since successfully organized a vote on the issue of area taxpayers to pay an additional $36 a year in taxes to continue their curbside recycling service. Because the area north of the Sault is not incorporated, this direction –which was favoured by voters, must be passed through legislation as per the Northern Services Act.
This means from now until possibly June 2016 residents north of the Sault are struggling to raise approximately $60,000 to sustain recycling services.
“We’ve had a few donations and Northside Volkswagen also took out some advertising with us which has been great. We also have someone from the Ministry of Natural Resources trying to help us find places to apply for funding. But, right now, we don’t have money left to pay for recycling. We’re beating the bushes at this point.”
When asked why the agreed amount of $36 wasn’t to be collected from north of the Sault residents now Holly explained that SNWMC didn’t have the human resources to communicate as well as collect the small investment from the households scattered throughout the large rural catchment.
“We are hoping that we can continue running the curbside recycling service through donations. We’re desperately trying to find a way to keep diverting recyclables from the disposal site.”
Want to help or make a donation? Please email email@example.com or call 1.877.600.0100.
You can read the press release issued earlier this week by SNWM below.
Issued by: Sault North Waste Management
Date: January 31, 2015
Sault North Waste Management Council (SNWMC) has worked diligently as a volunteer council since its inception in 2005 to extend the lifespan of the waste disposal sites to the unincorporated townships in Sault North. This has been accomplished through cooperation and support of MNRF, MOE, MTO, MNDM, Algoma Health, Local Services Boards, and the implementation of curbside recycling in the summer of 2007.
Council has worked hard to obtain funding from various sources (government funding programs, foundation donations, and commercial advertising) to carry the cost of curbside recycling. This has contributed considerably to extending the life of Havilland Waste disposal site which was scheduled to close in 2009. MNR manages and MOE monitors the appropriate use of the waste disposal site and the recycling depot.
The strategic plan developed for SNWMC clearly identified that short term funding sources would not continue to be available to sustain recycling, and the program would need sustainable funding. During the past year, two Local Services Boards (LSB) in Sault North brought the information to their respective taxpayers who voted in favour of acquiring the legislative power to allow inclusion of the cost of recycling in their taxbase. These two Local Services Boards represent more than 75% of the residents in the current service area. Currently, both LSBs are in the legislative process required to include the cost of recycling in their budgets. It is a long process, governed by the Northern Services Act. There are no short cuts and this process could take a year or more.
The most pressing issue currently is maintaining the service until the tax base is available to support it. The struggle continues as we fight for means to support the costs for another year, and are grateful for the ongoing supportive efforts and patience of GT Waste, the contractor. This is not a done deal. We have to find the means to support the service until it is sustained by the LSB’s.
We happily accept donations. SNWMC is a registered charity, and we will provide charitable receipts for all donations. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 1-877-600-0100.