Published: August 9, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
For years residents travelling between Red Lake and Balmertown were faced with the looming closure of the Balmertown Waste Disposal Site in the form of a highway sign thermometer. In the coming weeks those visiting the site will see the closure up close say municipal officials.
“Red Lake is at the point now where we are at closure for the landfill as it exists today,” updated CAO Mark Vermette last week. “Meaning no more waste can be deposited on the face of the landfill.”
Earlier this year municipal officials approved a $1.4 million budget spread over two year to complete the revitalization project that will include setting up single source drop-off points and isolating and improving traffic flow.
Vermette says the investment, which amounts to over $700,000 this fiscal year, is being spent on capping the existing face and creating a fully contained area to maximize service and safety.
“Over the next year and a half we will be working on our landfill site becoming a complete transfer [station],” said Vermette on Aug. 4. “We also have an application in with the Ministry of Environment and they are looking to expand the landfill up to 40,000 cubic metres.”
The expansion, he adds, would not allow for any materials that would leach into the ground. From now on all domestic waste will be transferred to Ear Falls under the existing shared services agreement which allows Red Lake to transport up to 7,200 cubic metres a year of domestic waste.
Last week the Municipality started notifying users of the change, including a scheduled temporary closure of the site to the public. Between Aug 8 to 15 only domestic waste and recycling will be accepted. Steel, construction debris, fridges, brush, or household and hazardous waste will not be accepted. The Municipality is also limiting visitors to passenger vehicles only during the announced period.
Work is also underway, he says, to work with area partners on future initiatives aimed at managing the community’s waste.
“We are looking for strategic alliances moving forward with our waste management. Could that be an expanded opportunity with Ear Falls? Hope so. Could it include some First Nation partners? Could be. We are looking at now preparing for the future by having that dialogue so down the road we will have a concrete strategy moving forward.”