West Coast waste head quits

Foot-dragging over the province's plan to centralize waste management has prompted the resignation of another top official.
Another official has resigned over the province's plans to centralize waste management. ((CBC))

Foot-dragging over the province's plan to centralize waste management has prompted the resignation of another top official.

Gilbert Smart, the chairman of the West Coast Waste Management Committee, plans to resign at the end of March.

Smart, who was appointed to the position in February 2008, said he is frustrated at the slow pace of the province's plan to close small landfills and ship garbage to central locations.

Smart's move follows the resignation of the head of the Eastern Waste Management Committee.

But Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O'Brien said the work would continue.

"We move on from there. There are other people that will take up the torch. People that will dedicate time to this particular issue," he said. "It's a loss, yes, it always is a loss, but it's not the end of the day."

The Newfoundland and Labrador government plans to close dozens of landfills and spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reach a target of cutting in half the amount of garbage heading to landfills in the next eight years.

The plan — which does not include a mandatory recycling component — will emphasize three "super-dumps" on the island, with only about 40 smaller landfills remaining open by 2020.

About 160 dumps will close over the next 13 years, and the same tipping fees — the charges levied for using a dump — will be applied to all users. Those fees will filter down to individual households at a cost of about $4 per month.

The three major landfills will be based at the Robin Hood Bay dump, in the east end of St. John's, at Norris Arm in central Newfoundland, and an undetermined location near Corner Brook, on Newfoundland's west coast.

Last week some Newfoundland and Labrador communities also said they are concerned about the province's plan to regionalize waste management. The communities said they are concerned about not being consulted on the province's plan to close landfills and called for more involvement in the decision making process. They also feel that the designated waste sites are too far away, which could prove costly.