County council has approved the closure of the Hillsburgh transfer station as of May 1, and will sell the surplus land it owns around the site.
Warden Joanne Ross-Zuj said after a closed council session that council had voted to sell the extra lands.
Councillor Chris White, pinchhitting for committee chairman Bob Wilson who was unable to attend the committee meeting, reported to council, “We need to do something about Hillsburgh transfer station.”
He said options appear to be either a new transfer station or implementing rural pick-up. He said either option would alleviate the need for the station near Hillsburgh.
So, White added, there will be no need for the surplus land surrounding the site, and it can be sold. He added that cash will be “good for the budget.”
White said the rural pick-up in Guelph-Eramosa Twp. appears to be working well, and he said the issues appear to be what to do with hazardous waste and larger garbage items.
He added the county might want to consider another motion for a recycle and reuse centre.
Councillor Rod Finnie, who is also the mayor of Erin, said his council has discussed the proposal and has two issues. He said there is concern about having to haul large items to distant transfer stations.
As well, Finnie said, there is a local garbage collector who operates in rural Erin, and his council would like to see that business have a chance to bid for rural pick-up next year.
Councillor Lou Maieron said he is concerned that the 12,000 residents and 3,000 households in Erin might have to travel a long way to reach other transfer stations.
Plus, he said, “Many Guelph-Eramosa residents are using” the Hillsburgh station, which, he said has between 800 and 1,000 visits per week.
He said his calculations show the county can save $82,000 in costs, and a plan for a recycling and reuse centre will “go a long way calming a lot of anxious peole in the community.”
Maieron cited a survey he sent to area residents with the help of Erin council, and noted a large number of people responded.
“It’s not just me saying this,” he said. “People want a place to get rid of bulky objects.”
The committee’s recommendation stated, “That rural collection of bagged household garbage and of blue box material be provided in the Town of Erin, effective May 1, 2010; and that the Hillsburgh transfer site be closed to the public at the close of business on May 1, 2010; and that the patrons be redirected to the Belwood transfer site for the disposal of bulky items, household hazardous waste, brush, tires, scrap metal, etc. and the use of a reuse centre.”
Maieron argued the county pays the costs for other transfer stations, and his math indicates there can actually be a savings.
“It pays for itself,” he said of a reuse centre.
He added he would like to see the Belwood reference removed from the motion.
But councillor Walter Trachsel, a solid waste services committee member, pointed out that the date to close the transfer station is May 1. He said that allows ample time to consider a recycling centre, and he foresaw no problem in council considering one in the near future.
Council then voted unanimously to approve the committee meeting minutes, which approved the transfer station proposals.
In an interview after the meeting, Finnie said Erin had purchased about 40 acres from the county from the former Grieve property. That land, adjacent to the transfer station, was to be used for soccer fields. He said the original farm was about 117 acres.
County engineer Gord Ough said the county will need about 43 acres of land to act as a buffer for any leakage from the site, which was once a garbage dump.