Iqaluit residents, consultants swap garbage ideas

Open burning at dump must stop, Iqaluit residents say



IQALUIT — Iqaluit residents got their first look last week at some of the technologies that may eventually bring an end to the open burning of garbage at the Iqaluit dump.
At the Parish Hall, a group of about 25 Iqaluit residents met with the consultants charged with drafting a garbage disposal plan for Iqaluit.

The residents said they are willing to consider everything from plasma technology to incineration as ways to get rid of their garbage. But open burning has to stop.

“The present practice of open burning is an issue,” said David Hunter, a consultant with one of the firms hired to come up with a plan for Iqaluit’s garbage, J.L. Richards and Associates Ltd., Hunter said the firm wants to present options that are acceptable to the community — and another open-burn dump likely isn’t.

“They’re not interested in that,” Hunter said.

Residents at the meeting were interested in beefing up Iqaluit’s bylaw, clamping down on industrial waste, charging garbage levies on incoming consumer goods such as cars, and creating a “swap shop” for items such as wood, paint or car parts.

The consultants presented a bevy of different technologies and methods to dispose of and reduce the amount of garbage thrown away, but finding the best solutions for an Arctic community at a cost residents are willing to pay won’t be easy judging from last week’s meeting.

Residents warned that some of the ways people reduce garbage in the South likely won’t work in the North. For example, charging people for throwing out too many bags of garbage may not work in a town where many residents live in apartment buildings.

“If your group’s knowledge is that user pay will only be effective for 20 per cent of the population, take it off the list,” one resident said.

Cost will be a factor when Iqaluit town council eventually chooses a new waste management system.

“We have to consider how much, we as citizens, are willing to pay… Operations and maintenance (costs) are very important as a taxpayer,” Iqaluit resident Alain Carriere said.

The construction costs of a new garbage landfill, incinerator or recycling centre would be split between the municipality and the territorial government, with Nunavut shouldering most of the cost.

But Iqaluit’s engineer, Denis Bedard, said that Iqaluit rate payers would par for the the year-to-year operation and maintenance costs of a new system.

But participants at the meeting did not automatically scrap certain ideas because of their cost.

The consultants are expected to return to Iqaluit in March with a set of options to choose from, and attached costs. At that time, another public meeting will be held.

But Iqaluit is facing a deadline to come up with a new garbage system.

Late last year, the Nunavut Water Board issued Iqaluit a strict one-year licence to distribute water and dispose of waste.

The licence included a condition that the Town draft a new waste management plan for the board’s viewing by May 31, 2000.

Hunter said the deadline is tight, but that his firm plans to meet it.

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