Whitewater Region -- A request for a proposal to buy and install a weigh scale at the Ross Landfill site will be prepared and available for pickup by interested companies.
Whitewater Region council discussed the weigh scale at a recent council meeting held via ZOOM.
There have been many changes at the landfill site on Kohlsmith Road over the years, including an administrative building constructed in 2006 and the introduction of a new hydraulic excavator, Public Works Manager Lane Cleroux said.
The site has developed into a managed operation offering solid waste disposal and recycling options for residents and contractors, he noted.
On January 1, a new fee structure was introduced which focuses on price per vehicle classification type rather than volume based, he said.
However, Mr. Cleroux explained while charging by weight is the most accurate and fair method to apply tipping fees, there are also disadvantages, including changing to weight means the capital purchase of the scales along with operating costs.
It’s estimated the cost for scales, measuring from 40 feet to 80 feet, could be anywhere from $75,000 to $125,000, he said.
An advantage to scales is staff would be able to track the exact amount of the type of waste/recycling and could compare year to year, he said.
The idea of weigh scales at the landfill site has been discussed many times over the years and was going to be proposed in the 2022 budget, Mr. Cleroux said.
Jp2g, a Pembroke engineering firm, is currently working on the Ross Landfill Expansion Feasibility Study which includes a revised site plan to look at the overall layout for buildings, future scale location and waste diversion area.
The addition of scales would bring new changes to current operations and traffic flow, Mr. Cleroux said.
Jp2g will be analyzing traffic flow which may require new entrance/exit locations to allow for vehicle queuing as a one-scale solution requires for two-way traffic would be controlled by stop lights, he explained.
Mr. Cleroux said one of the reasons for getting a weigh scale is it’s what residents want because the current fee structure is not fair to all and it will allow the township to keep track of what is being placed in the landfill.
Councillors Charlene Jackson and Daryl McLaughlin were not in favour of sending out the RFP (Request for Proposal).
“Are we jumping the gun?” she questioned.
It was originally scheduled for 2022, but now staff is recommending it be purchased in 2021, she said. She suggested the feasibility study being done on the landfill site be completed first and then the scales can be purchased.
Coun. Jackson said she is fearful the scales will be installed and then have to be moved once the study is completed.
“We need to get exactly where it is going,” she said.
She also noted there are many other questions to be answered, such as operating costs, including having staff in the weigh house.
Chief Administrative Officer Robert Tremblay said the longer council waits to purchase and install the scales, it’s that much longer before the fees are changed.
Mr. Cleroux noted the scales cannot be installed during the winter months, so it won’t happen this year. He also said the feasibility study is on the expansion of the site and how it will be laid out.
“(The scale) won’t be moved once it’s set in,” he said.
While Jp2g is doing the study, staff will know best where the scale should be located, Mr. Cleroux said.
There are other ways of operating the weigh scales, such as providing key fobs for the entrance gate and the scale, he said.
Coun. McLaughlin said there are weigh scales throughout the township that could be used to weigh transport trucks, which means the 40 foot scale could work at the site.
He also agreed with Coun. Jackson that “we do it once and we do it properly.
“I don’t understand the rush,” he said. “We can stay with the current fee structure now until we know where everything is going.”
Mr. Tremblay said staff thought “council wanted the weigh scales due to residents’ complaints,” and that’s why the RFP is being suggested now.
Councillor Neil Nicholson said residents want the scales.
“I’m in support of the RFP,” he said, adding he agreed there are still many unanswered questions.
He also noted if the township’s landfill site becomes a transfer station, the weigh scale will be necessary.
However, Mr. Cleroux noted if the township switches to a transfer station, a new weigh scale and site will most likely be required.
Councillor Dave Mackay questioned if it would cost more or less for people to bring in garbage if a weigh scale is used.
Treasurer Sean Crozier said it would take years of data collection before there could be a comparison.
Council agreed to send out the RFP for purchase and installation of a weigh scale.
Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader