Private C.B. landfill could lead to fewer derelict homes

Discussions are underway to open a privately run construction and demolition disposal site in the Port Morien area.

There are hundreds of abandoned homes in the CBRM that are considered a safety hazard

A derelict home in Sydney.(Joan Weeks/CBC)

Discussions are underway to open a privately run construction and demolition disposal site in the Port Morien area.

It's hoped the site will have lower disposal fees than the municipal landfill and that might encourage more people to tear down their derelict buildings.

Cape Breton Regional Council has given the proposal a green light pending an environmental assessment.

Paul MacDonald Trucking owns the 2.5 hectare deep woods site near Port Morien.

The regional municipality already has a disposal facility on the Sydney Port Access Road.

Malcolm Gillis, chief planner for CBRM, said it's important to have another place to dispose of the benign material from demolition sites including brick, mortar and drywall.

"Our site has a finite capacity. It's estimated that that site will be at capacity within the next generation. That's one reason, so we'll be looking for a new site ourselves," he said.

Gillis said the Sydney disposal facility has limited capacity, which is why it costs more to dispose of goods there.

"We try quite diligently to recycle a lot of the material that is brought to that facility. So we're hoping that if private business is involved in this they can find a site that has a greater capacity. As a result could result in cheaper fees and therefore bring down the cost of demolition and hopefully make it easier for people to demolish the old family home."

Buildings a risk

Abandoned buildings pose a major fire hazard in the municipality.

CBRM's fire services department said there are a few dozen fires in abandoned buildings every year. Some of the buildings are also falling apart.

But not everyone likes the idea of a new disposal site.

Kevin Saccary, municipal councillor for the area, said this could turn out to be a negative development down the road.

"Because if he takes his waste to his own site, I suspect there'll be a line up of construction companies looking to get their own sites."

That would mean fewer companies paying to use the municipal landfill.

Malcolm Gillis says taxpayers have 14 days to file an appeal if they don't like the project.