Not in my backyard: Heated public meeting over proposed waste management facility

Around 35 people came out with questions for Myers Industries Monday night at a public meeting discussing the environmental assessment for a new waste management facility in Kings County.

Many at the meeting don't want the facility near their properties

Some in the crowd at times got angry with responses to their concerns (Natalia Goodwin/CBC )

Around 35 people came out with questions for Myers Industries Monday night at a public meeting discussing the environmental assessment for a new waste management facility in the community of Baldwin Road in eastern P.E.I.

Chris McKenna lives less than a kilometre from the site and doesn't want it in the area. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The first thing the crowd took issue with was the way the meeting was run — as more of an open house rather than a formal presentation — and many said they didn't know anything about the project before, hearing about it via word of mouth. 

"We assumed that there was going to be a formal presentation, which there wasn't," said resident Chris McKenna, who lives about a half a kilometre from the site.

"Unless you read the report here you pretty well came here uninformed.  And it wasn't a very efficient way of delivering information."

This type of meeting is the usual way the Department of Environment does public consultations, and it was advertised in the local newspapers.

'We don't want it'

Despite the lack of a presentation, the crowd got its concerns across, and the discussion was at times heated. At one point several people shouted out, "We don't want it."

Resident Aaron Byrne had a suggestion for another location for the facility.

"Mr. Myers has lots of land beside his home on the MacDonald Road." said Byrne.

Ray Cantelo hopes the project goes through. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

The main concerns brought forward were litter from the drop off site, possible problems with pests like rats and seagulls. The biggest concern was smell.

"I know it's a transport facility. They're talking two, three days that things that could be around, but in July my compost cart smells," said McKenna.

"I can only imagine what this is going to smell like, and it's going to be all week like, so that ruins your quality of life in your backyard, you can't put clothes out on the line, you can't open a window."

There were also concerns about traffic and noise, which McKenna said was an issue at another nearby facility.

"The neighbour across the road right now says the noise starts at 4:30 in the morning as it is, so that's only going to increase." he said 

Not all against

But there were those in the crowd who saw the benefits of the plan.

Owner Clinton Myers say they are trying to do the project right. (Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

"Generally speaking it's fairly environmentally sound, they're trying to do what's right," said Ray Cantelo.

"They've laid out a plan, they've produced some good evidence here that it can be sustainable."

The company says they have made plans to try and control odour and pests, explained owner Clinton Myers. 

"Everything is indoors, except for the drop-off site, which is closed in containers, so everything is contained and not subject to wind or odours or anything like that."

There were concerns expressed about the noise and traffic at a nearby facility. (Randy McAndrew/CBC)

The company currently employs around 25 people and says the expansion will create three to five more jobs. 

"We're trying to build a better company and employ people in Eastern P.E.I. We want to do it as responsibly as we can and, you know, we want to be there for the long run." said Myers. 

The public now has 10 days to submit written questions or concerns to the Department of Environment, but some residents are thinking of also starting a petition against the project.