The mayor of St. Anthony is not satisfied with the region's current landfill, and he wants to know what the plans are for future waste disposal.
In an interview with the Northern Pen, Desmond McDonald said the current landfill is too close to the town, and on top of that, it's quickly running out of space.
“We need some answers. No one knows where waste collection is going in the future,” said McDonald. “We're not getting any answers from Norpen, we're not getting any answers from the province. So we need some direction. We can't keep dumping garbage down a hole and hoping it'll disappear.”
According to McDonald, the landfill - located just a few kilometres away from St. Anthony - has been in operation for at least 30 years. He said there's not enough space for it to continue as a dumping ground for the whole region.
“It's grown extremely fast, the size of the site. It's out to areas that I never thought I'd see in my lifetime,” said McDonald.
"I'm of firm belief that it's outgrown its space...it's not big enough in my opinion to service the area. It doesn't take long when you're collecting garbage from the whole area.”
McDonald is also worried about how the site's proximity to town could affect the environment and the aesthetics of the area.
“We have a growing tourism industry, and people's mindsets are changing around waste and how they view the landscape and the beauty of Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said
“That's not something you want on your front door...there's always plastic bags blowing around in the trees.”
'Site is too small'
Gerry Gros, the chairman of the NorPen Regional Services Board, agrees that the current landfill in St. Anthony is not suitable for the region.
“We know the site is too small and we know it's an eyesore,” said Gros.
Several different options have been discussed at board meetings, he says, but he's “not at liberty” to talk about those options publicly.
Gros also pointed out that NorPen will have to wait for the province to complete its waste management strategy review before making any major changes. Although, he adds, Norpen does want to provide input for the review.
Gros also indicated it wouldn't be financially feasible to haul garbage to the large landfill at Norris Arm.
“If we have to start doing that, the costs are going to skyrocket,” he said.
“You're looking at a seven or eight hour drive, one way, with a semi; it's not going to be cheap.”