Whitewater Region – By year’s end, a weigh scale should be in use at the Ross Landfill Site in Whitewater Township.
Council approved the purchase and installation of a 2021 Rice Lake weigh scales at a cost of $134,735.33 at its October 20 council meeting. The tender was awarded to GTR Scales Ltd. out of Arnprior.
Public Works Manager Lane Cleroux provided a report on the weigh scales and the reason for purchase in a prepared report.
He recalled that in the spring, Jp2g Consultants was hired to prepare a new site plan and use of approved capacity and expansion of the Ross Landfill, located on Kohlsmith Road between Blind Line and Mineview Road.
While the consultants have been working on this, they have changed their focus from expansion to getting the site right for the landfill scale, he said.
Mr. Cleroux noted 12 companies picked up a package and four bids were received from three companies, ranging in price from $142,000 to $158,000.
The scales are not budgeted for in 2021 but will be included in the 2022 capital budget and financed by the waste management reserve, he said. The reserve currently has a balance of $56,514.86 and staff estimates an additional $40,000 contribution would be added to the reserve as per the 2021 budget, he explained.
Councillor Neil Nicholson said there is no money to be saved by purchasing the scales.
“We’re not saving money or making it more efficient at the landfill in terms of saving any dollars, but clearly, from the phone calls I’ve received, and other phone calls to other council members, the public wants this,” he said.
With the introduction of new fees at the site, there have been concerns from the public they are paying too much for garbage for what is being brought in.
When questioned how the scale system will work, Mr. Cleroux said each vehicle will drive onto the scale when entering and leaving the facility. There will be stop lights on each end e which will notify which driver should be entering the scale area.
When questioned how snow and inclement weather will affect the scale, Mr. Cleroux noted snow removal will be done by the township plow truck. As for salting the scale, he said it’s not advisable for most scales, but this scale is designed so that salt won’t hurt it.
“This scale is power coded and all the components are sealed, so there is no issue if we had to use salt,” he said.
Coun. Nicholson was interested in a backup plan if the scales are not working.
Mr. Cleroux said there is a very low risk of failure. The biggest problem would be a surge from power and lightning, which the township has protection against. The device is not a guarantee, but it should protect the scale, he said.
He noted the load cell could fail, but that takes awhile to happen, and it’s a gradual failure, so it would be known before it occurred.
There is a 12-year-warranty on the scale which will be inspected twice a year at a cost of $1,300. The life cycle is about 30 years.
Councillor Chris Olmstead said he uses scales from other companies for his own business and believes the purchase is a good investment, adding when those companies’ scales are closed, possibly the township could be making some extra cash.
He was pleased there will be a digitized receipt for the customer. Not only will that keep track of the amount of trash and recycling being brought to the site, but will be a valuable tool for township purposes.
Councillor Daryl McLaughlin had concerns about the flow of traffic.
“I can visualize the amount of traffic now,” he said. “If we’re doubling up, that’s going to cause a problem.”
Mr. Cleroux agreed, noting there are “advantages and disadvantages” to having a scale. The advantage is there is an unbiased decision as to how much the customer is bringing in, he said.
The weigh scale will add delays in traffic, so the gates will be moved closer to Mineview Road so vehicles can cue up inside the landfill versus on the road, he added.
Coun. McLaughlin was also concerned people would get frustrated and leave if they have to wait too long in a line.
Mr. Cleroux explained the site plan will address the flow of traffic in and out.
“They will be directed to a sorting area versus going to the face of the landfill. They can do all their business within the lower half,” he said. “They drive in, unload and be faster to get out.”
Reeve Cathy Regier questioned when the scales will be ready to be used.
Mr. Cleroux said if approval is given to buy the scales they should be installed and commissioned by December 15.
In reviewing figures regarding the life-cycle and cost of the equipment, Coun. Nicholson said the expected annual cost should be about $5,800 a year.
“We’re offering a service,” he said. “There’s no money to be saved, but there are other advantages that have been talked about.
“This is a reasonable cost to offer this higher level of service to the community and that’s what they are asking for,” Coun. Nicholson said. “It’s not budgeted, and yes we’re taking from reserves, but I think we’ve done the research and I feel this is a reasonable cost.”
Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader