Discussion Surrounding Zero Waste Facility Continues

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The letter outlined some alternate options to further reduce the County's zero waste goals. Council has also been asked to come up with a report about how much it would cost to not move forward and talk to the Zero Waste Oxford group on the next steps.

OXFORD COUNTY - A recent Oxford County council meeting saw a letter brought forward on the proposed zero waste direction. 

The letter, written by councillor David Mayberry, looked at alternate options at further reducing the County's zero waste goals.

Warden Larry Martin says the letter looked at the costs of not moving forward, among other suggestions.

"I think the key thing there though was the very first paragraph, as I mentioned yesterday. Basically, bring forward a report and tell us what we're going to be out if we don't move forward for this next step. And the rest of the letter outlines different steps that we can take as far as working our way towards zero waste in Oxford County, as far as our strategic plan."

Among the options in the letter included council asking Zero Waste Oxford group to explore opportunities on further educating the public on how they can reduce waste production. Another option was to suggest council ask the ZWO group to explore opportunities in helping with the ICI sector's waste, even though the County does not have responsibility for it, to reduce their waste stream.

The letter also caused debate among some councillors. Warden Martin says the cost of the landfill was one of the reasons.

"I think that the bottom line is the very last step is one of very significant dollar value, but we're about two years away from that at this point in time. But if we don't move forward with what they want to do right now then we could end up losing a substantial amount because if it lapses then we'll have to start all over again. But if we can keep this moving, at least until the end of the next step, if we can get to the end of this next step we can put it on hold for a while if we need to and then we can just carry on if they want to activate it again in six, eight or twelve months."

He adds the uncertainty on the outcome of the regional review and the provincial budget also plays a role.

Depending on the technology and site location, the price of this project could end up costing up to $40 million. He says the waste management facility would bring the waste down to 90%, extending the lifespan of the landfill to over the year 2100 based on council's current proposal. The cost of staff's current option ranges anywhere from $21 million to $35 million.

Warden Martin says the next steps is to look for a site for the facility. 

"The next step is just to identify sites where they can put this, I'll say it's a reduction in recovery technology which is basically an anaerobic digester, and it is to identify a site. Now, of course the main one will be at the Salford landfill but then we'll separate that and it will have to go a water treatment plant either in Ingersoll, Tillsonburg or Woodstock."

Council has also been asked to come up with a report about how much it would cost to not move forward and to talk to the ZWO group on the next steps. 

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