Nfld. & Labrador

Consultant hired to help solve eastern Newfoundland garbage fee fight

After years of disputes, the Department of Municipal Affairs is hiring an independent consultant to examine garbage collection fees and services in eastern Newfoundland.

The review will examine dispute between property owners and garbage collector

Residents of Brigus Junction are just some of the people in the area upset over their waste services, like this collection site that turned into a trash heap in 2018. (Submitted)

The provincial government is hiring an outside consultant to look at the dispute between people living in rural areas of eastern Newfoundland, and the organization collecting their garbage.

Since 2009, the Eastern Regional Services Board (ESRB) has been responsible for the area's waste management — everything from curbside collection of trash and recyclables, to bulk item pick up, and household hazardous waste — but the system has been fraught with complaints from property owners.

Last year, some people who own property in Brigus Junction complained a new waste drop off site — one without a bin — had turned into an eyesore, littered with garbage despite a promise by the ESRB to pick up the trash there.

Close to 500 cabin and homeowners live in the region, and since 2016 have been battling a $180 annual bill to have their garbage picked up, with one cabin owner going to court over years of unpaid garbage collection fees earlier in January.

End of winter deadline

A spokesperson for the Department of Municipal Affairs said it has reviewed all concerns about the ESRB's services and fees, and met with the board to discuss potential solutions.

The consultant will "conduct a study of the board's waste management fees and services, particularly with respect to unincorporated areas," said the department, in an email.

The ESRSB is responsible for garbage collection in parts of eastern Newfoundland, some of which is taken to the Robin Hood Bay dump in St. John's. (Bruce Tilley/CBC)

"The outcome of the study will inform any decisions about whether legislative amendments are necessary to ensure that residents are being billed appropriately by the Eastern Regional Service Board for services received," it reads.

That study is expected to be finished by late this winter.

This latest move to hire an outside consultant comes after the provincial government announced a full review of solid waste management in Newfoundland and Labrador, earlier this month.

Waste management costs an average of tens of millions of dollars a year, according to the province, and it hasn't been reviewed since the last plan was announced in 2002.

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