Bay Post - Goodbye Churchil Dump
waste transfer station for Churchill?
Churchill dump, a both famous and infamous aspect of the community
for over forty years, is slated for closure this year.
the Federal Government is divesting all publicly owned properties
across Canada. As part of the former site of the military community
of Fort Churchill, the Churchill dump falls under this category.
two dozen people, primarily small business owners, attended a
public consultation held May 3. Dan Sonmor, of Department of Public
Works, and Ken Friesen, of Earthbound Consulting, along with Mayor
and council were on hand to discuss proposed solutions and answer
proposed solution involves the establishment of a recycling and
waste transfer station, in the building, known as L5.
approximately 5km outside of town, L5 is hard to miss. This 24,000
sq. ft building, juts out of the rocks, north of the Churchill
Airport. Currently abandoned, it was once the cold storage unit
for Fort Churchill and, later, served as the main centre for public
housing construction site.
as yet not formally approved by council, it seems that this is
virtually the only course of action for Churchill. Other options,
including relocating the dump to Joe Buck’s Ridge or the
the current scrap metal dump, were explored but fell within an
eight kilometre ‘no go’ zone around the Churchill
Airport. Due to concerns over an increase in bird activity near
the airport, Transport Canada could not allow these sites to be
considered. This left shipping recyclables and waste out of Churchill
as the only real alternative remaining.
L5 is scheduled to cost $850,000, a conservative estimate according
to Friesen, a representative of the consulting company working
with council. Mayor and council have indicated that the town will
contribute approximately one third of this sum, through monetary
and in-kind contributions. The Provincial and Federal Governments
are expected to contribute the remainder.
usage of the station run at 490 tonnes per year, broken down to
375 tonnes or residential (including tourists) and 115 of commercial.
Of this, approximately 150 tonnes is recyclable, 65 compostable
(not including grain dust from the Port of Churchill) and 275-300
simply garbage. Annual, per tonne costs include $32/tonne for
recyclables, $33/tonne for compostable materials, $150/tonne for
waste shipped to Thompson.
was deemed suitable for a variety of reasons. Structurally it
remains very sound, with relatively minor repairs required. As
well, it has a 3’ thick floor, important for limiting the
chances of leachant reaching the groundwater. Finally, its proximity
to town will also reduce transportation costs.
close distance to the Town of Churchill raised concerns about
increased polar bear activity within the community.
Romaniuk, of Manitoba Conservation, does expect an increase in
polar bear activity near and in town over the short-term. But
he feels, the long-term gain, due to a fenced enclosure, reduced
smells and no food reinforcement, will greatly benefit both the
polar bears and Churchill.
questioned whether the Polar Bear Alert program can handle more
bears in and around town, he states with confidence that additional
officers and resources are available, to assist local personnel,
if need be. He concludes, ‘We have local officers who know
their job and do it very well, and we expect that won’t
critical aspect of this project rests on a significant increase
in recycling activities from the people and businesses in Churchill.
Project forecasts are based on a 65% recycling rate in our community.
Currently, Churchill lies at about eight per cent, resulting in
about 8kg of recycling per person per year, compared with the
Manitoba average of 40-50kg per year.
recycling is already quite actively promoted within the local
school system, it will be a challenge to alter current behaviours.
Friesen believes that ‘with a promotional and educational
campaign in place, 8% can easily translate to 40% within one or
concludes, ‘A rate of 65% is very reasonable, and can, in
fact, be exceeded quite easily. Take cardboard, for instance...there
is a lot of it in Churchill going to the landfill. It is a heavy
material and easily recyclable. That alone will make quite a difference.’
prepared by Kelsey Eliasson, first appearing in the Hudson Bay
Post - Churchill Manitoba May 2004 issue