Emo getting serious about recycling

The Township of Emo is considering taking bold new steps to reduce the amount of waste being sent to its landfill site, it was revealed at council’s regular meeting last Thursday.
Reeve Russ Fortier expressed concern and alarm at the rate at which Emo’s landfill site is being filled by materials that could be diverted if the right facilities—and public mindset—were in place.
“We have about a six-year life cycle for our dump and no guarantee we’ll get another,” Reeve Fortier reminded council, noting new provincial regulations are putting more restrictions on the types of recyclables that can be sent to municipal landfills.
But council found a corporate ally in its quest to uncover new ways to deal with the township’s waste in the form of Cloverleaf ShopEasy co-owner Mark Loney, who brought a novel idea to council’s attention—putting a large bin in the parking lot at his grocery store in which people can deposit aluminum cans.
He also suggested placing two other bins at the nearby fairgrounds for the collection of plastic, cardboard, and paper. Currently, Emo residents must take their recyclables to several bins located outside of the village.
And up until now, they have not been used as much as they could.
Loney said by making it more convenient, people will be more likely to use them. “Not everybody goes to the dump, but everybody goes to the grocery store,” he reasoned.
Loney told council he had seen such a program in Grand Rapids, Mn. recently and it appeared to be effective. Furthermore, the community actually might realize a return on these products.
“There’s money in cardboard and definitely money in aluminum cans,” he stressed.
Loney further proposed that area charities or clubs could be in charge of sorting the materials on a monthly basis and share in the revenue generated.
Cloverleaf ShopEasy is one of the largest generators of recyclable waste in Emo and has been diverting one tonne a week from the landfill, said Loney.
The plastics go to Winnipeg while the cardboard and paper are sent to International Falls. He proposed the township do likewise.
To facilitate the effort, Loney said he’s prepared to donate the use of his compactor for the cardboard until the township decides if it wants to invest in one of its own.
Reeve Fortier said he was intrigued by the proposal and assured Loney that council would investigate it further. However, he noted the idea only would succeed if people co-operated and became aware of the true cost of dealing with waste.
“At the end of the day, our customers are going to have to learn how to recycle,” he said.
Prior to Loney’s proposal, Reeve Fortier brought council up to date on the ongoing renovations at Emo’s curling club. He said efforts to raise money to get it up and running again are being curtailed by the club’s failure to come up with an accurate estimate of the amount required.
Without accurate data, he said, there is little council can do to help.
Things are looking much better, however, in the township’s effort to replace the district’s aging handi-van. Reeve Fortier announced the Township of La Vallee has agreed to become a partner in the acquisition and operation of a new unit for the district.
That leaves only Morley and Alberton uncommitted to the project, but the reeve said there now are sufficient resources in place to warrant approaching the province for additional funding.
“I’m applying on Nov. 5 for a Trillium grant,” he promised.
Another topic of interest that emerged at last Thursday’s meeting was water consumption.
At a council meeting last month, an Emo resident expressed his opposition to being billed twice for what he considered a single-unit dwelling, which prompted council to reconsider the entire billing process.
In what Reeve Fortier described as part of the township’s objective to achieve full-cost recovery in all the services it provides, council decided to purchase six water meters to be installed in random addresses throughout Emo in order to ascertain a realistic estimate of the amount of water being consumed.
Based on the results of this survey, council will consider enacting a bylaw requiring all new building permits to include the installation of water meters.
Existing buildings will be grandfathered, but council made it clear that ultimately, all commercial and residential units eventually should be equipped with individual meters, thus bringing to an end the flat-rate billing process currently in effect.
In other business last Thursday, Emo council also:
•authorized the a payment of $4,887.50 to the Northwestern Health Unit as the township’s October levy;
•confirmed the date and location of the 2004 Volunteer Appreciation/Council/Staff Christmas dinner (to be held Dec. 11 at the Emo-La Vallee Community Centre);
•approved a donation of $200 to the Emo Hospital Auxiliary in appreciation of the volunteer commitment to the township by Sam Visser;
•authorized Public Works to shut off the water supply to all addresses where there are overdue accounts of more than four months;
•passed a resolution authorizing the payment of the October bill to the Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board in the amount of $17,187.82;
•agreed to accept the quote of $1,500 (plus GST) for a new air conditioning unit for the municipal office;
•passed a resolution authorizing the payment of the October policing levy in the amount of $10,170 ; and
•passed a resolution authorizing Reeve Fortier to attend a consultation session of the Northwestern Ontario District Health Council on Nov. 2 in Fort Frances.
The next regular meeting of Emo council is slated for Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. at the municipal office.