ANNAPOLIS ROYAL, N.S. - If you’re an Annapolis County resident and you’ve been wondering when you’ll get a new green bin, they’ve been rolling them out since Sept. 24 and they’re expected to all be delivered in a five-week timeframe.
Except they’re not green, they’re grey. And they carry the municipal logo ‘County of Annapolis, Naturally Rooted’ on the side instead of the Valley Waste logo.
“The next three weeks should see the bins completely distributed,” Annapolis County CAO John Ferguson said Oct. 3. “We started at the eastern side of the county and are working to the western side.”
The acquisition of 9,500 new bins, at a cost of $572,600 plus HST, or just over $60 each, became necessary after the county failed to reach a purchase agreement with Valley Waste after Valley Waste stopped its service in Annapolis County effective Aug. 17.
The dispute between Valley Waste and Annapolis County, a partner in the municipally created entity, revolved around the county’s contention that Valley Waste was exceeding its authority by approving multi-million-dollar contracts without municipal partners voting on them. The county also refused to endorse a new budget for Valley Waste, and while it did make out cheques to pay its share of costs, conditions were attached to the cashing of the cheques.
Valley Waste stopped service in Annapolis County, except for in the towns of Annapolis Royal and Middleton, and through waste hauling contractor EFR Environmental of Middleton offered to sell the 20-year-old green bins to Annapolis County for $8.46 each. Annapolis County’s counter offer, again made through EFR Environmental, was $5.50. Valley Waste rejected that offer and has been collecting the old green bins ever since.
Until their new bins arrive Annapolis County residents have been using compostable plastic bags provided by the county.
Garbage and Recyclables
Some Annapolis County residents are wondering where their garbage is actually going, now that Valley Waste is not involved.
“Queens County can’t handle our volumes on the recyclables. They were handling our residuals, which is just your regular garbage, no problem, but they could not handle our recyclables,” Ferguson said in the Oct. 3 interview. “And because we haul it all directly to the landfill (we can’t use the transfer station) we weren’t able to take it to Queens any longer. We’re trucking it to Chester at this time.”
Ferguson said the county has a three-month agreement with Chester.
“Three months because we normally wouldn’t take recyclables to Chester. We wouldn’t truck it that far. We would transfer everything at the local transfer station (in Lawrencetown),” Ferguson said. “We would save significantly on costs on transportation and have the four different streams handled from the transfer station. So what’s happening is that recyclables are going to Chester now and we drop off residuals and recyclables there.”
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The compost is a different matter, and ironically compost from Annapolis County is now going to where it always used to go.
“Compost is going to Northridge in Aylesford,” Ferguson said. “Northridge used to be the site for compost until this year. Compost from Valley Waste is being trucked to Colchester County to a place called Fundy Compost.”
He said the county anticipated it would have increased costs because of not being able to use the transfer station where larger trucks would be loaded with the various streams and then make the trip to Chester.
“We still anticipate having overall savings despite the increased costs at this time” Ferguson said.
After Valley Waste stopped service in Annapolis County, and refused to allow the county to use the transfer station, the county filed with the province to expropriate the Lawrencetown facility, a 90-day process before the site has to be relinquished by Valley Waste – if the expropriation is successful.
“There’s an application for judicial review by the other six municipalities on our expropriation,” said Ferguson. “We had a court hearing. No decision has been made on the judicial review and we said that we would not occupy the Western Transfer Station until it was in court again. We wouldn’t push to have occupation of the Western Transfer Station until I think the date is Nov. 20. The official end of the 90 days is Nov. 17 but we said we wouldn’t do anything until the court hearing took place.”
“I can confirm that Valley Waste and the solicitor for the six remaining members of the inter-municipal agreement have requested a judicial review,” said Valley Waste spokesman Andrew Garrett. “This is set for Nov. 20 to discuss the validity of Annapolis County’s expropriation action.”