According to a report in The Daily News (Halifax), a legal battle is developing is shaping up between the Halifax Regional Municipality and the waste hauling industry over where our garbage is disposed. Private waste haulers want a judge to quash a municipal bylaw that forces them to use the Otter Lake landfill, run by Mirror Nova Scotia Limited, instead of less expensive facilities in other municipalities.
The Solid Waste Association of Nova Scotia is scheduled appear before a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge February 16 to seek an end to a bylaw amendment Halifax Regional Council approved in June 2002 that applies equally to commercial haulers and waste companies contracted by the city for residential garbage collection. The goal of the bylaw is to keep all metro garbage inside the metro area.
The HRM says it need to control the flow of garbage to Otter Lake, since it depends on tip fees for part of its operating revenue. The Environment Department estimates that 6,700 tonnes of metro garbage was disposed of outside of the municipality last year. At $115 a tonne, that represents more than $750,000 in lost revenue.
The tip help fund the whole waste management system that includes the landfill, a recycling plant and a compost facility.
While it costs $115 per tonne to dump waste at Otter Lake, it costs just $65 per tonne to dump it at a less sophisticated landfill in West Hants. That landfill is to be replaced January 1, 2006 by a landfill that meets provincial environmental regulations. The new West Hants landfill will be owned and operated by Waste Management Inc.
Lawyers for the Solid Waste Association of Nova Scotia will argue that the bylaw provisions governing the export of garbage are illegal because they amount to HRM exercising a power it does not have.
In November, the city announced it was taking Sackville garbage hauling company GTI Refuse Ltd. to court for trucking metro garbage across the county line. City lawyers applied for an injunction to stop the company, but have since put the case on hold
because the company changed hands. Mayor Peter Kelly said the city had to act to protect its "world class" waste system.