WINCHESTER – The North Dundas landfill site is currently in the process of undertaking an environmental assessment.

The need to expand the existing landfill site sooner than later triggered the assessment which is being carried out by Golder Associates, partnered with the North Dundas waste management staff.

As the assessment moves along, one of its mandate is to provide information to residents and opportunities for residents to comment on what the study is all about and what it may recommend.

One way to ensure transparency and an exchange of information is the creation of a newsletter filled with facts about the landfill site, the assessment and waste management practices.

The Feb. 9 North Dundas council meeting featured the first and second installment of the newsletter.

The newsletter was not intended to be a permanent item or even a monthly one but because of the pandemic and the lack of an opportunity for residents to hear what is going on with the assessment, this is the next best thing.

“There are lots of people concerned about waste and waste management. It speaks to the effort from staff and the municipality to ensure the message is delivered,” said Mayor Fraser.

He felt after reading the first two issues that the newsletter made for good reading.

Doug Froats is the director of waste management for the municipality.

“The technical bulletin, which was in January, that one is all about the waste diversion study,” he said.

The study is mandated by the environmental assessment.

“What we are trying to divert and what we are doing, as well as some options of what we might like to change or what direction we are going in.”

Froats said they look at other municipalities that are like North Grenville and see what they have done with their landfill sites. For example, the idea of having a dual collection truck where garbage is collected and stored on one side of the truck and the other side is reserved for recycling is a practice not used by most Ontario municipalities.

Normally we would have diverted 609 metric tons, but now we are able to divert around 670 metric tons.

“That’s a 20 to 30 per cent advancement already this year, that’s perfect,” he said.

Golder has created newsletters in the past and as a result has a lot of information they can put in the newsletter in general, to make it more interesting to residents.

“If you read through it, it gives you a general idea of what we do and how we are trying to change,” said Froats.

This information has to be shared with a number of other organizations. “We send it out to other ministries, as well as Aboriginal groups.”

In the past, information has been collected from North Dundas residents and other municipalities who have the same rural urban background.

The technical bulletin for February is part of the environmental assessment also.

That newsletter deals mostly with the terms of reference for the environmental assessment and gives residents an opportunity to understand what the municipality is doing about their landfill site plans for the present and the future.

In the original environmental assessment plan, four open houses were to have been held to allow residents to see what was going on and to become involved.

“We have had two already,” said Froats.

“We are going to probably have another newsletter in early March because of Covid. We probably will not be able to have another open house. We will do another newsletter to replace the open house and give information to residents about what we are doing and what studies we are doing,” said Froats.

Other topics will include how the landfill site will be expanded, what it would look like and what other ideas there are to make it more efficient.

The expansion plan will hopefully allow the landfill site to continue to operate for another 25 years. The next newsletter could also include the different designs staff could implement for the landfill site.

“We will want to look at which design would give us the 25 years that have less influence on our surroundings, including trees and nearby properties. We want to do all that and have all that in one of our bulletins,” said Froats.

Residents who live within one kilometre of the landfill site get a copy of the technical bulletin mailed to them.

Froats said if someone else wants to be on that mailing list, he can add them as well.