The town may enter into an agreement to provide landfill and recycling services for Naotkamegwanning (Whitefish Bay) First Nation.
At its Sept. 10 meeting, council received a request from Naotkamegwanning, which then was reviewed by the Operations and Facilities executive committee.
It recommended entering into an agreement if the town is able, but first the town must engage with the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to ensure compliance with applicable regulations.
Operations and Facilities manager Travis Rob said at Monday night’s council meeting that the town already has contacted the ministry about the possible agreement.
“One of the things we want to make sure that we do is meet with the [MOECC] and get their take on it,” he noted.
“We’ve kind of already informed them that we were approached by a community so they’re aware of it,” Rob added.
“We’re just working out a time we can all sit together and discuss the details of it, and what can we do, what can’t we do.”
Several council members questioned how taking more waste at the landfill would affect its lifespan while others wondered if it was within provincial guidelines to take waste from outside Rainy River District (Naotkamegwanning FN is located in Kenora District).
Coun. June Caul, who sits on the Operations and Facilities executive committee, said the town will have to wait and see what comes out of talks with the ministry.
“The ministry may not want us to do this, say, ‘No, you can’t,'” she noted.
“The steps are just starting to be taken,” she stressed. “There’s been no decision made yet.
“We’re following the proper steps, I believe,” Coun. Caul added.
“We don’t have to worry about too much at this point in time until we find out from the [MOECC].”
Rob noted Naotkamegwanning FN is in “a bind” as their landfill site has been closed and they have no government support to open a new one.
Whitefish Bay FN has contacted other municipalities in the region but only Fort Frances and Dryden are considering their offer.
And since Fort Frances is much closer than Dryden, it would be much easier to transport waste here.
“They’ve got to take their material somewhere, and are really try to save a real long-distance haul on typically one truckload a week,” Rob said.
“They definitely don’t want to be hauling to Winnipeg.”
Whitefish Bay is looking to deposit one 30-yard truck per week of materials, which may be reduced once they develop a recycling program within the community.
They also are looking to bring recyclable materials to our transfer station, Rob wrote in a report to council.
The town landfill is approaching its capacity and the town will be looking to expand in the near future, Rob conceded.
“However, 30 yards per week is a minimal amount of materials compared to what is currently brought daily to the landfill,” he remarked, adding the town’s recycling transfer station was developed with the ability to accept out-of-town recyclables.
The town already accepts materials from within Fort Frances and Alberton, and has a 10-year agreement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry to receive materials from Mine Centre.
The town, of course, would charge Naotkamegwanning FN for the service.
With the MNRF agreement, for example, the town charges the landfill tipping fee, as set out in the user fee bylaw, plus mark-up.
With recyclables, they charge the actual per tonne cost plus mark-up, which is determined at the end of the year.