Sunday, April 09, 2006

Taking Out the Trash

There's plenty of stink over plans to expand a west-end Ottawa dump, but we have yet to hear a viable option for what to do with the tonnes of garbage that we collectively drag to the ends of our driveways every day.

Residents closest to the Carp Rd. landfill have trained their sights on Waste Management, the private-sector company that operates the dump just a couple of hundred metres off the westbound Queensway.

They would be better advised to start demanding answers from members of Ottawa City Council, who seem to have found their voices on the garbage issue only now, with a municipal election a scant eight months away.

Waste Management is doing exactly as it has been asked to do by the city -- taking in and processing roughly 1,000 tonnes of garbage daily at its Carp site.

Could the company build and operate an incinerator to destroy some of the garbage? Of course it could.

But the city would first have to build that option into its garbage disposal plans. And so far, Waste Management officials told members of a Sun editorial board yesterday, the city's policy calls for "land-based facilities only" -- what the rest of us would call dumps.

Opponents of the Carp landfill point to an incinerator in Brampton as the model to follow, but Mike Walters, a senior official at Waste Management, noted the cost of processing garbage through the 18-year-old plant is $105 per tonne -- roughly three times the tipping fee the city of Ottawa pays to use the Carp site. Hard-pressed ratepayers aren't likely to embrace a solution that is going to cost them even more on their property tax bills.

We need the mayor and councillors to show leadership on the garbage disposal issue and we also need ordinary citizens to play a role. Far too much of what we should be recycling and composting is still going out with the trash.

But until we're doing a much better job of cutting back what we toss away, properly run landfills will remain an important part of the total solution.

And another thing ...

There's a glimmer of hope that pro football will return to Ottawa this summer. Edmonton real estate executive Bruce Urban will be in the national capital next week to check out the franchise, and tells the Sun's Barre Campbell he's convinced he can make it work.

"We'll have to turn it around fan-by-fan," says Urban. We'll be keeping our fingers crossed.


Post a Comment

<< Home