Did you ever think of enjoying a nice lunch at the dump?
The Central Newfoundland Waste Management (CNWM) facility provided just that June 29 at Norris Arm North, when federal and provincial government representatives gathered at the adminstration building of the site.
The site itself looks more like an upscale tourist cabin complex, with attractive buildings, an area surrounded by rich forest, and no whiff of garbage in the air.
Visitors at the opening said they were impressed by the facility, as it did not look like dumpsites of the past, with piles of trash and incinerators.
Instead, members of the CNWM staff and committee are eager to laud this as the new face of waste management. And so is government.
All were celebrating the official opening of the Norris Arm landfill as well as seven local waste management facilities throughout the central region.
One of the federal guests was Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and Regional Minister for Newfoundland and Labrador. He explained he was taking part in cross-country roundtable discussions on developing a long-term plan for public infrastructure in the country beyond 2014.
But first, he offered a personal reflection.
“I’m told that Norris Arm, as it is known today, was once occupied by the Beothuk,” he said. “They came here to fish, and it is a reminder that the Beothuk used to live off the land here. They had a steady supply of salmon and other resources to make their home and provide for their families. This is just a small reason why it was a pleasure to be here.”
He added Ottawa would continue to support projects like the Norris Arm North site, as he said government’s plan will deliver long-term funding to improve infrastructure across the country.
Paul Davis, provincial Minister of Service Newfoundland and Labrador, acted as emcee for the official opening; some municipal leaders and volunteers were also present, including Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins and Bishop’s Falls Mayor Bob Hobbs.
“This facility has been in the works for a long time,” said Kevin O’Brien, Minister of Municipal Affairs. “This is the first in the province designed to keep pollutants from leaking into the soil.”
Allan Scott, chair of the Central Newfoundland Waste Management committee, said the CNWM now has 108 communities on stream, from Terra Nova to Buchans in the west and Fogo Island in the north.
“We now have closed 42 landfill sites,” said Scott.
The total cost of the project is $64.6 million. The province has directed $21.3 million of its federal gas tax fund allocation toward eligible costs. The remaining $43.3 million was funded by the province’s Municipal Capital Works Program.
The goals of the provincial solid waste management strategy are to reduce the amount of materials in provincial landfill sites by 50 per cent, reduce the total number of waste disposal sites by 80 per cent, eliminate open burning of waste at disposal sites and phaseout incinerators, phase out unlined landfills, and encourage residents of Newfoundland and Labrador to participate in waste diversion programs such as recycling and composting. The province plans full implementation of the strategy by 2020.