Annapolis County council looks to resolve waste system dispute

·2 min read

Annapolis County council is trying to resolve its legal problems stemming from a dispute over its waste management system.

On Tuesday, councillors voted in favour of starting preliminary talks with the provincial Environment Department and Kings County — one of six municipalities that launched a lawsuit in 2019 against Annapolis County after that municipality withdrew from the regional waste authority.

The seven Annapolis Valley municipalities jointly operated Valley Waste for nearly two decades before the Municipality of the County of Annapolis raised concerns over the budget process and parted ways with the authority.

The county bought its own set of compost bins and a property in West Paradise to set up its own transfer station. The application for a provincial permit to operate the transfer station has also ended up in the courts.

The municipality's acting CAO, Louis Cantino, told councillors Tuesday that costs associated with the waste dispute are adding up.

"The existing numbers are indicative of where we are going," Cantino said during a special session to discuss the municipality's waste issues. "I can't see it getting less, I see the costs getting more."

So far, legal fees are $148,000 while the municipality's annual waste bill is estimated to be $1.9 million. In 2018, under Valley Waste, the annual costs were $1.6 million.

Cantino recommended settling any outstanding bills and negotiating a new waste agreement with neighbouring municipalities.

The warden, Alan Parish, supported that option.

"If that's the direction we want to go, we have the opportunity to do something that hopefully will be better for all the parties to the agreement," said Parish. "Maybe part of the arrangement would be built on tonnage and not just population."

While a couple of councillors argued costs would have also gone up under the agreement with Valley Waste, all of them voted in favour of holding preliminary discussions with the mayor and CAO of Kings County, as well as a separate meeting with Environment Department officials.