Litter, scavenging problems at waste facility
Carbonear, Harbour Grace want solution to wandering garbage
In pits on the site of the old incinerator in Harbour Grace, piles of roofing shingles, tires, furniture and branches get larger three days a week.
The location is the home of the Eastern Waste Management (EWM) waste recovery facility, a site where building materials, hot water tanks, metals and so much more is collected.
But issues with lighter items, such as siding, blowing down the road towards a local quarry have been brought to the attention of EWM in the past few months.
Carbonear Coun. Ed Goff was one of those that discussed his concerns with the site at a recent town council meeting. The Compass spoke to him soon afterwards.
“Here they are putting the building materials over there, and stuff like siding and bags and other loose material blows across the street over on the whole side towards Concord’s pit,” he explained. “(EWM) sends people around every now and again to clean it up. By that time, it’s gone into the woods somewhere. And it’s not degradable.”
At a recent Harbour Grace council meeting, Deputy Mayor Sonia Williams echoed Goff ’s concerns.
“I’m very disappointed in the state of it,” she said. “A big con- cern is that they are not taking things out soon enough.”
But EWM chair Ed Grant told The Compass it’s not a site for trash or litter, and items are trucked out regularly.
“In four months there has been 41 trips to-and-from that site,” he explained. “Your base garbage, chesterfields (and other bulk items) are taken.”
Tires are removed by the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board and a separate company picks up metals.
Electronics are no longer collected there, but when they were they were picked up separately as well for recycling.
Grant said the Harbour Grace site has some unique challenges compared to others. Scavenging is one of them.
“We had to stop doing electronics in Harbour Grace,” he noted.
When the site did take electronics, they were locked up. But after hours, people would access the site and beat the lock off.
Unlike other facilities, there is an ATV trail that runs alongside the site. Because it’s public access, Harbour Grace would not allow the path to get closed off.
“This is the most problematic site we have when it comes to scavenging and the number of people going on the site,” Grant said.
One of the biggest issues was theft of metal and wire, which can be resold.
In one incident, someone tried to melt plastic around copper wire, and ended up starting a fire. The Harbour Grace Volunteer Fire Brigade was called in and a piece of heavy equipment had to be used to access the fire.
“It has to stop,” Grant explained. “It’s causing double the work to clean up.”
It’s illegal to take material from the site, but so far there has been no way to catch them. But that is about to change.
A security system is being installed in the coming weeks, and EWM plans to prosecute anyone that trespasses on or scavenges from the site.
“We want to work with the towns and the RCMP, and hopefully we can discourage people from coming on the site,” he said.
Both Goff and Williams want to see something in place to prevent the garbage from blowing around and people from going on to the site after hours.
Goff wants a barrier placed around the most prominent pits where lighter items are stored, or around the whole site if possible.
“It wouldn’t take much to put a fence up, you know an eightfoot fence,” he said. “At least on the prevalent wind side. It would probably be a more efficient operation. What they’re spending on labour, they’d get back very quick if they were to close it off with a fence.”
Williams wants to prevent people from going on the site after hours because of liability concerns, among other reasons.
“If they get injured on that site doing whatever they’re doing, we could be in a position where we are liable,” she explained.
She would also like to see the site cleaned up more, noting it is an “eyesore” to the town.
“It’s bad,” she said. “Worse than I’ve ever seen.”
The Harbour Grace waste fa- cility is opened Tuesday and Thursday from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more, visit www.easternwaste.ca.
The sky’s the limit with this pile of shingles that have been building at the Harbour Grace waste recovery facility since the last pick up.
Multi-Materials Stewartship Board collects tires from the Harbour Grace waste recovery facility site.
Pallets, doors, window frames and many other wooden items sit in the pit at the Harbour Grace waste recovery facility on Incinerator Road waiting for pick up.
A pile of metal in one of the pits at the Harbour Grace waste recovery facility.