Garbage dump to 'pay for itself,' mayor says

The City of Toronto is set to pay $200 million for a London landfill site in a deal that may become profitable for the city, sources told CBC.

The City of Toronto is set to pay $200 million for a London landfill site in a deal that may become profitable for the city, sources told CBC.

"By owning the landfill we will actually get income from the other clients they have. So, the landfill pays for itself," said Mayor DavidMiller.

The city expects the purchase of the 130-hectare Green Lane landfill site to become lucrative because it will be collecting revenue from commercial operators and other municipalities who dump their garbage at the site.

When the city owned Keele Valley landfill site, it contributed profits to city coffers. In the last year of operation, the city collected $25 million in revenue from the site.

Financial details of the purchasewill not be made public until after the deal is finalized in 90 days, but sources told CBC the pricetag will run just over $200 million, not including operation expenses.

Concerns over costs

However, several city councillors said they were given only a brief look at financial details and are nervous that the deal will end up costing taxpayers too much.

"I think it puts us at significant risk as a corporation who is charged with ensuring the financial and environmental stability of the purchases we are about to make," said Eglinton Lawrence ward Coun. Karen Stintz, who voted against buying the landfill.

Some say operatingexpensesover the lifetime of the landfill could cause the pricetag to double.

City councillors voted 26-12 on Tuesday in favour of purchasing the landfill site after meeting behind closed doors for much of the day.

However, it was revealed Thursday that mayoral candidate and Don Valley West ward Coun. Jane Pitfield, who strongly opposed the deal, accidentally voted in favour of the purchase.

She publicly apologized for the mistake saying it was human error and said sheplans to request that her vote be changed when council convenes on Monday.

McGuinty questions 'lack of interest' in incineration

Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested Wednesday that Toronto might want to consider the option of garbage incineration.

"One of the options that it seems to me has largely gone unrecognized, and for which there's been a demonstrated lack of interest, is alternative technologies including incineration and energy from waste," McGuinty told reporters.

However, he conceded that it's ultimately up to municipalities to make decisions about their garbage disposal.

There's nothing the province can do, McGuinty said, other than to ensure that residents' health and safety are protected by ensuring Toronto follows the government's environmental regulations.

Environment Minister Laurel Broten said conditions were imposed on the Green Lane landfill to make sure regulations are followed.

London reaction

London Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best hasexpressed outrage over the deal to dump Toronto's trash at the landfill site located southwest of London.

Toronto planseventually to ship the 80 truckloads of trash currentlyshipped dailyto Michigan landfills to theLondon landfillas the state phases out garbage shipments by 2010.

DeCicco-Best admitted there is little she can do to stop the sale but she said she's angry that the city received no notice of the deal until it was done.

Area politicians criticized the deal and called on Toronto to keep its trash closer to home.

"I'm with the people of my community. Obviously I'm not happy about it at all," Colleges and Universities Minister Chris Bentley, who represents London-West, told Canadian Press.

"My view is that the future is that every municipality deals with its garbage in its own backyard," he said.