Nova Scotia approves application to deactivate sorting equipment at Timberlea landfill

Click to play video: 'Changes to Otter Lake Landfill approved'
Changes to Otter Lake Landfill approved
Halifax’s controversial plan to make changes to the Otter Lake Landfill has been approved. Two pieces of equipment that help sort organics will be deactivated, leaving many in the community concerned. Amber Fryday has more. – Mar 23, 2022

The province of Nova Scotia has approved an application to remove a front end processor and a waste stabilization facility at the Otter Lake Landfill in Timberlea.

This is provided a compliance plan is submitted.

The systems currently allow for the removal of hazardous materials and organic waste before being buried in the landfill.

Halifax Regional Municipality says due to the success of waste diversions, the equipment is no longer needed and could save millions of dollars in additional costs.

However, according to a public consultation that was conducted in winter of 2021, 95 per cent of the community had concerns about potential changes to the system.

“The community is outraged. Plain and simple. This community accepted the landfill site when no other community would accept it and that was based on promises and contractual obligations that were put in place in 1999,” says Scott Guthri with the Halifax Waste Resource Society.

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Read more: Residents push back against proposed changes to Otter Lake landfill

According to the Department of Environment and Climate Change, their staff conducted an extensive review based on science and best practice and the equipment must stay on site until a hazardous waste plan is implemented.

Timberlea MLA Iain Rankin says the decision is disrespectful to the community.

“They’re reverting back to a traditional second-generation landfill. They’ve ignored the public engagement process that overwhelmingly said that there were concerns about potential change.”

Rankin says Beechville-Lakeside-Timberlea accepted the landfill in 1999 under contracts that would guarantee certain environmental protection and safeguards (Including the front end processor and the waste stabilization facility). At the time, the agreement to host the landfill was contingent on it being a 25-year plan.

The community has voiced many concerns about scavenger animals moving in the area with the potential increase in organics being buried as well as odor and blowing debris.

“Basically the trucks will back up to the landfill site, dump everything into a giant hole and drive away with no checks to make sure that these items are being removed or discovered into the landfill,” says Guthri

“What are you going to put in place to ensure that we’re still going to try and keep organics, raw organics out of the landfill? Are you going to phase out the black bag entirely so that we have all clear bags?” says Rankin.

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Guthri told Global News The Halifax Waste Resource Society has an appeals process underway that they will most likely follow through with and there is “nothing ruling out court action for breach of contract.”


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