You should always know the answer before asking the question

Posted December 6, 2013

A recent consultant’s poll on behalf of the waste management department said people do not want to pay more to divert waste from the landfill.

This was part of a campaign to review the solid waste management program and cast it in stone for the next 20 years. Back in the summer, the city held an open house at Cuttin Fields for residents to obtain information about the future direction of solid waste management. The room had a number of visual aids and members of the consultant’s staff were available to answer questions.

Interestingly, there were no members of the administration present including the Mayor or the Executive Director of Environment, Planning and Engineering, the senior staffer in charge of waste management.

The purpose of this exercise was to emphasize the direction of the 20-year solid waste plan. The primary goal is to divert waste from going into the landfill. Last year almost half of all waste collected in Guelph ended up in the landfill, more than 48,000 tonnes.

The mayor has often stated that the goal was to divert waste from the landfill. That was the excuse for spending $33 million on a compost processing facility that is currently operating at only two-thirds capacity.

Between September 12 and October 31, a consultant conducted a survey over the telephone of 400 randomly-selected households. Another option was to reply online. In all there were responses from 209 residents.

The results were surprising, including the high numbers supporting waste to energy instead of diverting to the landfill. Some 75 percent of the phone responders and 68 per cent of the online responders supported (dare I say it?) Incineration of waste to create heat and electricity.

Also responders were against spending more money to manage waste.

While this poll is a strong repudiation of composting wet waste it is not conclusive.

What it reveals is that The Farbridge administration’s determination to divert waste from the landfill by composting, has been rejected. Seven years ago when the Mayor and her cohorts took over the administration, they chose composting over incineration.

Today we have a composting facility that is an overbuilt, labour intensive white elephant that masquerades as a solution to divert waste from the landfill.

On top of that, millions have been spent developing the Dunlop Drive waste management centre including $2.3 million this year, on a second scale to weigh vehicles, plus other alleged improvements.

So, never ask a question if you don’t know the answer.

This is only one of a number of expensive mistakes that the Farbridge administration has foisted on the city and its residents. There is more to come.

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Filed under Between the Lines

4 responses to “You should always know the answer before asking the question

  1. John

    We should stop wasting money treating our sewage too and just flush it into the Speed River. If it’s acceptable to dump our garbage in someone else’s backyard then why isn’t acceptable to dump our sewage into their water? Oh, because we should take responsibility for our waste, that’s why. Time for the city to stop collecting garbage and make each resident responsible for the cost of disposing of their own garbage. I’m tired of my taxes subsidizing others garbage collection. I’m not talking about the city contracting out the waste pickup. I’m talking about the city getting out of it all together and let private corporations set up shop and make residents pay the cost directly to the company they choose to collect their garbage. Then let’s see how much it costs all the whiners to get rid of their trash.

  2. SW

    The new compost facility actually increased the amount going to landfill. Previously everything was sent to a waste to energy facility in NY – not to a landfill. The new system excludes roughly 10% that was formerly wet waste (i.e. Diapers) and that 10% is landfilled.

    • SW: If I recall the disposal charge for the garbage going to the incinerator in New York state that produced energy, was $85 a ton portal to portal. Now it’s costing an estimated $3.42 a tone to process wet garbage just in the new compost facility. That sounds eerily like Mr. Magoo was doing the city bookkeeping.


    SW:Yes,you’re spot on and perhaps this contravenes the intent of the Provincially-mandated Waste Diversion Act?Keep an eye on what’s to come with the City “studying” waste-to-energy;another expensive,”smoke-and-mirrors”, capital investment that Taxpayers probably will have to bear the burden in their taxes!

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