Financial boon for municipality of LaVallee

By Robin McCormick
West End Correspondent

The Corporation of the Township of LaVallee Environmental Services Inc. will be taking the non-hazardous waste materials to our landfill site from the Couchiching First Nations Remediation project.

This material has been approved by Ministry of the Environment to be used to cap our landfill closure substantially.

Newly elected Township of LaVallee Reeve, Lucille MacDonald, shared with me her knowledge, input and excitement about this project.

When asked, What is the reduction of the lifespan of our local dump, due to importing from another community? Lucille answered, “ That was our first concern as well, the material is being brought in as a waste and it is a large amount, about 44,000 metric tons. We reviewed our most current land fill report which was done in 2013. Neil MacDonald (LaVallee’s Road Superintendent) realized that we would have to buy and haul material to cap the landfill. This can be done as the landfill is used up or after closure. Neil talked to the MOE (Ministry Of Environment) and was told he could use this material to cap. The material being hauled now is not even enough for capping the closure. The usable area of the landfill is 7.3 hectares and eventually will require .6 meter of material on top of it. As of 2013, we only had used .88 hectares.”

When asked what the material was and was it toxic at one time, Lucille’s comments were, “The material is not hazardous, it is contaminated. The material is from the Couchiching Remediation Project, Lucille believes, it is around the area where the old sawmill sat. A contaminant report has been attached to the contract. Neil plans to take samples of loads and is still working on this part of the plan. Again, the MOE has approved our landfill to take the material as non -hazardous waste, and we have done this before in smaller quantities. The majority of the material will be recycled as capping material and therefore have little or no impact on our overall landfill capacity.

When asked , Was LaVallee the only Municipality or town approached, Lucille replied, “To my understanding, we are the only landfill other then Thunder Bay that can take this amount. Initially there were three or four remediation companies bidding on the contract for Couchiching. They all contacted Neil for quotes on dumping.

Initially, Neil was very skeptical due to the large amount of material. He investigated more and found it was possible and a great opportunity for the municipality. He was in contact with MOE several times to get answers to questions, while keeping the CAO and council informed. We then had a special meeting of Council to make certain everyone was clear on the entire process and that there were no unanswered concerns before the contract was signed. Council was unanimous in the decision to proceed.

When questioned about the amount of revenue to be generated by this project, Lucille’s answer( was an astonishing)

2.5 million dollars in extra revenue this year from the project. It is hard to calculate how much we will save, not having to buy capping material, however, as of the 2013 reports, the material to cap the dump at that time would of cost about $81,000.00 for the .88 hectares already used. (Lucille believes that figure is low, even for 2013). This material will cap more than half of the entire 7.3 hectares. A very rough calculation would be over $400,000 savings for cap material in 2013 dollars. You can likely double that today and who knows what it might be in the future.

There will be a person hired for the landfill to monitor and direct dumping, sample material and receive weigh bills. This cost will be paid by the remediation company. They will also supply the bulldozer and operator to move the material.

There will be some extra paperwork for our office staff for billing etc. The roads staff are already starting preparation work for the site. Tausenfrende Road will require preparation and a lot of extra maintenance during the course of the haul. This will be determined by the road superintendent and the municipality will bare the costs.

We will be having another landfill assessment done by the engineers after the haul is done. This was required this year anyways. Council will have to discuss the use of the revenue during budget discussions. Lucille anticipates that most of the revenue will go to reserve accounts for now. Lucille shared, “I am hoping that a strategic plan will be developed with community input, and revenue will be used for things that have a lasting impact on our community!”