Costs increase at TLTI dump sites

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The Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands is seeing a costly jump in dumping at its waste disposal sites, which could lead to changes.

After declaring a state of emergency, township council declared a moratorium on garbage tags, allowing ratepayers to dispose of up to four bags of garbage per week free of charge, as a financial relief during the pandemic.

“The use of our waste disposal sites has exploded during COVID, and having the free garbage available, while definitely something that was necessary at the time for immediate relief – I think Director Goheen’s report speaks to what it costs us as ratepayers,” said Mayor Corinna Smith-Gatcke.

While garbage disposal has been free for residents, it’s not free for the township, and that means it’s not free for ratepayers.

“Due to the significantly increased volumes of waste delivered to the sites over the last two months, dozers and compactors have been brought in far more frequently than normal and a proportionately larger volume of intermediate cover material has been purchased,” wrote Adam Goheen, director of operations, in his report to council.


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The township operates three waste disposal sites, and two of them have fewer than six years of life left in them.

“The projected remaining capacity of these facilities is based on a year-to-year volumetric average of waste deposited at the sites,” said Goheen.

A sudden increase in volumes would mean those sites, Lansdowne and Escott, might have to be mothballed even sooner than anticipated.

As Goheen points out, the sudden increase could be temporary, but it still comes with a cost at a time when the municipality is trying to manage and reduce costs as it grapples with the financial fallout from the pandemic. One suggestion was to end the free garbage disposal now.

“We’re still in a state of emergency and as much as dollars speak, I think until the state of emergency is gone we shouldn’t be changing our policy,” said Coun. Brian Mabee.

He went on to argue that the state of emergency will come to an end fairly soon, and at the same time, there are still residents who haven’t been able to get back to work and still need what relief the municipality can offer.

“My take on the increase at our dump sites was a direct result of the cleanups throughout our township. I think people that were off work, took this time and made use of it and I think quite frankly we’re better off because of it,” said Coun. Terry Fodey.

Far more surprising is that not all the dumping is happening at the waste disposal sties in spite of the free dumping allowance.

“We have seen a relatively significant increase in roadside dumping as well over the course of the moratorium, and that’s somewhat difficult to explain, when it really costs nothing to deposit those four bags,” said Goheen.


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According to Goheen, if the township realizes a lower than normal uptick in summer residency as a result of the pandemic, then the increase may balance out over the course of the year.

Meanwhile council is contemplating tightening up access to the waste disposal sites.

“Looking ahead we need to have some sort of discussion about access – controlled access. It’s been quite a lawless environment at our dumps. I would like to see it tightened up and our employees to have access control as we move forward,” said, Coun. Mark Jamison, who says he’s been spending quite a bit of time at the dumps to try to understand the issues.

At this time no action is being taken, and council received the director of operations’s report as information, while staff continues to monitor the situation.

The Kingston Whig Standard is part of the Local Journalism Initiative and reporters are funded by the Government of Canada to produce civic journalism for underserved communities. Learn more about the initiative

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