Letters to the Editor

Eastern Waste boss explains operation of regional drop off sites

On behalf of the Eastern Regional Service Board, I would like to provide information regarding your recent article published in The Shoreline News, November 25, 2021 edition, page 13 entitled “Bay Bulls councilor not impressed with operation of regional dump.” 

First of all, the waste facility at Bay Bulls is not the “regional dump” as stated by Councillor Sullivan and reported by Mr. Squibb. Through the Provincial Solid Waste Management Strategy (PWMS), all local landfills/dumps in the Eastern region are closed and have been replaced by the regional landfill at Robin Hood Bay as well as a network of waste recovery facilities including the one at Bay Bulls. There is no landfilling at the waste recovery facilities – bulk waste is held temporarily to be transferred to the regional landfill at Robin Hood Bay.

Waste recovery facilities across the Eastern region are run by the Board with a strict adherence to the Certificate of Approval to Operate these facilities from the Provincial government. The Provincial government sets restrictions on the type of waste to be collected at the sites such as no commercial waste and no black bag/household garbage. The Board has always operated these waste recovery facilities like the Residential Drop Off facility at Robin Hood Bay (RHB) whereby these facilities are for residential use only and those with commercial/business waste must continue to dispose of their waste by reporting to the scale house at RHB. This would include the cities and towns in the Eastern region, i.e., the City of St. John’s and the Town of Bay Roberts, for example, report to the scale house and pay the appropriate tipping fees. The Certificate of Approval to Operate these sites prohibits acceptance of commercial materials from contractors or businesses. Vehicles with commercial signage are refused entry. The acceptance of commercial/business waste at these facilities would provide businesses an unfair advantage as they would not pay any waste disposal fees. This negatively impacts local waste haulers and means that residents of the Eastern region are paying the disposal fees for the commercial/business waste.

The waste recovery facilities are for residential drop off for any bulk waste item that cannot be brought to the curb for regular weekly collection such as appliances, furniture, mattresses, hot water tanks, metals, etc. We cannot accept anything that is recyclable or materials that decompose, including cardboard, clothing, food items, etc. The Board has adopted policies that assists in controlling costs as much as possible as the Board incurs the cost of transporting all materials collected at the Bay Bulls site to the regional landfill at Robin Hood Bay. These costs impact the fee charged to customers. To ensure compliance with our Certificate of Approval to Operate these facilities, to manage our costs, and to assist in maintaining a reasonable household rate for waste services, the Board must ensure that our facilities operate appropriately and in line with current regulations.

All the Board’s waste recovery facilities are open for 16 hours per week – 4 hours each on Tuesdays and Thursdays plus 8 hours on Saturdays. The Board employs two Site Attendants at the Bay Bulls facility.  Unlike other regions in the province, there is no charge for residents to drop off their bulk waste at the waste recovery facilities operated by our Board. 

The Board’s mandate does not include addressing illegal/indiscriminate dumping. The responsibility to fight illegal dumping is shared by many parts of government including Service NL and the MMSB. The ERSB is mandated to develop services and facilities so that people have options to participate in the safe and responsible disposal of their waste. The cleanup and enforcement of illegal dumpsites falls under the jurisdiction of the provincial government. As we all know, illegal dumping is a serious and unnecessary problem in our province that poses a threat to the environment and our communities.  Crime Stoppers encourages the public to report information of any suspicious activity involving the improper disposal of waste by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). The Board cannot be held responsible for those reckless individuals who choose to dispose of their waste inappropriately and illegally. 

To address the statement, “We’re housing an operating waste dump and we don’t get any tax money from it,” said Sullivan, please note that as per Sections 118(b) and 120(2) of the Municipalities Act, the Board’s sites and facilities cannot be assessed property or business taxes.

The Eastern Regional Service Board consists of 20 elected officials from across the Eastern region with one representative for the Southern Shore area (consists of all communities from Bay Bulls to St. Shott’s). The Board is governed by the Regional Service Boards Act, 2012 and the Eastern Regional Service Board Regulations, 2013. The Board operates as a not-for-profit and all monies collected through the waste management program must cover the costs to provide the service. The Board does not receive any provincial funding to provide its waste services. 

In closing, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide the above information.  This information has been provided to the Town of Bay Bulls as well.

 Kindest regards,

Harold Mullowney, B.Sc., B.Ed., M.P.H.

Chairperson, Eastern Regional Service Board

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