Plan to trans­form land­fill hits $16.4M road­block

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - CITY+RE­GION - PHIL TANK

The City of Saska­toon’s am­bi­tious plan to con­vert part of the mu­nic­i­pal land­fill into a waste-di­ver­sion fa­cil­ity known as a re­cov­ery park has hit a $16.4-mil­lion snag.

A city coun­cil com­mit­tee heard this week that the to­tal for re­quired work at the cur­rent land­fill and ad­vanc­ing the re­cov­ery park con­cept sits at $23.4 mil­lion, with only $7 mil­lion avail­able.

“Oy, that’s frus­trat­ing,” Mayor Char­lie Clark said at Mon­day’s en­vi­ron­ment, util­i­ties and cor­po­rate ser­vices com­mit­tee meet­ing.

The at­tempt to es­tab­lish a re­cov­ery park to di­vert waste is iron­i­cally com­pli­cated by the need to ex­pand op­er­a­tions at the land­fill.

A city re­port con­sid­ered by the com­mit­tee re­vealed con­struc­tion on a new cell for waste dis­posal will need to be­gin by 2020 because the cur­rent ac­tive cell will be full in three to four years. Build­ing the new cell is ex­pected to cost $8 mil­lion.

Pre­par­ing for the new cell, in­clud­ing the re­lo­ca­tion of build­ings at the land­fill, is ex­pected to cost $16 mil­lion. The new cell is slated to be built in an area cur­rently oc­cu­pied by waste drop-off, re­cy­cling and scales.

Ini­tial work on a re­cov­ery park is ex­pected to cost $7.4 mil­lion.

Coun­cil ap­proved spend­ing $7 mil­lion on a re­cov­ery park in 2017; a re­serve fund was ex­pected to help pay for the rest of the work. Un­for­tu­nately, that fund is in a deficit due to years of lower than ex­pected rev­enue from the land­fill.

The city ad­min­is­tra­tion is sup­posed to come up with a plan to pay for the work needed at the land­fill by the mid­dle of next year. The com­mit­tee en­dorsed con­tin­u­ing to plan for a re­cov­ery park while the search for money con­tin­ues.

“Our in­tent is to ad­vance this as fast as we can,” said Jeff Jor­gen­son, the city’s act­ing gen­eral man­ager of cor­po­rate per­for­mance.

The re­cov­ery park is ex­pected to in­clude new scales, a space for re­cy­cling con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion waste, a house­hold haz­ardous waste col­lec­tion de­pot, com­post­ing, re­cy­cling and a gen­tly used item ex­change.

The pro­posed park is one of sev­eral ini­tia­tives aimed at di­vert­ing more ma­te­rial from the land­fill. Saska­toon has one of the worst di­ver­sion rates among ma­jor Cana­dian cities. In 2011, coun­cil ap­proved a plan to try to ex­tend the life of the land­fill by 40 years.

The early cost es­ti­mate for clos­ing the cur­rent land­fill and build­ing a new one is $126 mil­lion.

“This is a lot more stark than I think a lot of peo­ple re­al­ize,” Coun. Zach Jef­fries said.

The city is also ex­plor­ing a user­pay approach for garbage col­lec­tion. Coun. Troy Davies said he needs more in­for­ma­tion on the land­fill’s fu­ture be­fore he can vote on user fees.


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