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Administration recommending permanent closure of Meadowgreen recycling depot

City of Saskatoon administration said continuous concerns over the site led to its recommendation to permanently close the Meadowgreen recycling depot. Slavo Kutas / Global News

Citing, in part, illegal dumping and criminal behaviour, Saskatoon city administration is recommending the closure of the Meadowgreen recycling depot.

The city placed the site under reduced hours, installed fencing around it and implemented 24-7 surveillance on March 26 over ongoing safety concerns.

Read more: Volunteers try to clean up Meadowgreen recycling depot after years of dumping

Administration said continuous concerns over the site led to its recommendation to permanently close the depot.

“We regret that it has come to this, but ongoing issues have left us with no choice but to recommend permanent closure,” Lynne Lacroix, the city’s general manager of community services, said Wednesday in a statement.

“Unfortunately, we can no longer commit the resources required to maintain the site, keep residents safe, and uphold the appearance of the lanes adjacent to the depot; nor do we wish to enable nuisance or criminal activity in any way.”

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A report heading to the standing policy committee on planning, development and community services on April 12 lists a number of safety concerns.

The report says city employees frequently have to call Saskatoon police to disperse scavengers and there is a risk that someone might be in a bin when it is emptied.

It also said there evidence of drug use, with used needles on the ground or in bins.

Concerns of encampments were also cited as a high risk for the depot, with the report stating recyclable or illegally dumped materials are used for temporary shelters.

“These materials provide inadequate shelter for Saskatchewan winter, causing a risk of freezing, unsafe structures made of highly flammable materials that put occupants at risk of burns or death,” states the report.

“The unique locations and design of encampments can make it hard for fork truck operators to see the individual (especially in low light) causing an increased risk of the occupant getting crushed by the bin or crushed by their own structure”

Read more: Battery recycling program to launch in Saskatchewan

Other concerns are fires, which happens roughly five times a year, illegal dumping and contamination from the dumping of hazardous materials.

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“Multiple approaches have been attempted to address the above safety issues at Meadowgreen recycling depot,” states the report.

“Sustained improvements have not been observed because of these actions.”

If the recommendation is approved by the committee, it will then go to city council on April 26 for approval.

Administration is recommending the depot be closed immediately if approved by city council.

“We fully expect that the positive social implications of this closure for the Meadowgreen area and its residents will far outweigh the financial and environmental implications,” said Angela Gardiner, general manager of utilities and environment for the city.

The closure and remediation of the site are estimated at $8,000 by administration.

Remediation includes cleaning and clearing the site to ground level, but leaving the asphalt base for potential further use in the area, according to the report.

Administration said signs and fencing will also be installed to prevent future illegal dumping and direct users to alternative recycling depots.

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