Welcome to another edition of the Hutchings Environmental Bulletin, where I scan local news for environmental stories, give you a bite-sized report, and link you back to the original sources for the full picture. The news I monitored this week includes the issue of mass transit in Corner Brook, the ongoing waste management and shipping controversy, and contamination discovered at the former City Hall building, which has found a new buyer.
Students “have failed us” –Councillor Boutcher
Taxi rates in the city have been increased, and the Corner Brook Transit will be continuing its summer schedule into September. This means the bus will be running two routes every hour.
Councillor Priscilla Boutcher said during the August 20th City Council meeting that students had “failed the city” as it attempted to increase bus ridership. Many of the changes were geared toward students, and little increases were noted.
Grenfell Student Union President Robert Leamon suggests that the system failed the students and the community. Promises were made in the implementation of the trial system, such as increased hours, but not everything was acted on. A promotional campaign to increase ridership and real-time bus positional information to computers and cellphones is ongoing. Go ahead and click here to find your ride via NextBus.
Taxi rates have been increased to $3.32, and have been approved by council.
The transit survey is still available to be filled out. CB Transit semester passes are available for $220 at the main offices of the post-secondary institutions.
Shipping waste to central
Representatives of the Western Hills Waste Management Committee say they want answers and they are willing to demonstrate. A demonstration will let the public know that the committee is not happy with the direction discussions are taking.
The province is planning to streamline the provincial waste management system to include two or three large dumping facilities in the eastern, central, and possibly the western part of the island. Local regional dumping facilities are scheduled to close by the end of this year.
Chairman Don Downer said a transportation subsidy has not been taken off the table.
Sorting the garbage is still a major component of the plan. The province is becoming aggressive on both wet and dry waste. Composting will be pushed.
“We’ve had a public website up where we post both positive and negative things about this,” he said, stressing that there is nothing to hide.
The decision is pending, according to Municipal Affairs Minister Kevin O’Brien.
“If we as a government can save $100 million-plus dollars, and the cost per household is the same with or without the facility, we would be fools not to save that $100 million for the people of Newfoundland and Labrador,” the Municipal Affairs minister said.
The implementation deadline is 2016.
The estimated $100 million it would cost to build the regional facility would be saved by the province. Operational cost of about $2 million of running a waste facility in western would have been paid by western taxpayers. To truck waste to central, it would cost between $1.5 – $2 million.
O’Brien said it would be cost-neutral.
“This is about protecting your environment, and doing it as cheaply as you possibly can, both for the province as a whole and the householder as the end user,” he said.
Former City Hall sold, despite contamination issues
An environmental assessment was completed on the property which uncovered some contamination issues earlier this year. The assessment cost between $47,000-$58,000, which was partially covered by the interested developer.
The results of the assessment are unknown, as is the identity of the buyer.
Dolphins in the bay
A pod of dolphins or porpoises were seen feeding in the Bay of Islands on Tuesday, Aug. 28. Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture.
I’ll be diving into Year II of environmental technology this time next week. Classes will take first priority, but my future columns will proceed with their focus on the environment, cat adoption, College of the North Atlantic, and a few other ideas I have up my sleeve.
Your eyes on my work has been very much appreciated during my first six weeks with CornerBrooker.com. Thank you all!