MUSKOKA - The District Municipality of Muskoka has four years to remove 88 waste bin sites from five municipalities. The plan is to have the most hazardous bins and those closest to bodies of water gone by Fall 2020. Muskoka’s bin sites are unapproved by the Ministry of Enivronment, Conservation and Parks.
This leaves the district just several months to draft a plan for alternative waste station solutions, hold public consultations, pass the plan through council, budget accordingly and begin implementation. Seems a tall order given the time limitation and expense all at the same time as the district also needs to set aside for improving affordable and social housing plus of course hospital funding.
Muskoka Post had posed a few questions to the MECP to further clarify the conversation.
MP: Would private bin sites still be subject to the same type of regulations as district sites?
MECP: Ministry approved waste transfer stations (bin sites), whether they are privately or municipally owned, are subject to the same design and operational standards. This ensures that they do not present a risk to human health or the environment.
MP: Should the district of Muskoka require to build more transfer stations to accommodate tax payers following bin removal, would the provincial government aid in paying for these stations?
MECP: The District Municipality of Muskoka is responsible for any costs associated with the design, approval, construction, and operation of new, Ministry approved, waste transfer stations.
MP: Any specific reason why there was four years given as a transition period?
MECP: The Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks required the District Municipality of Muskoka to undertake a risk assessment of the 88 unapproved bin sites, in order to identify which sites presented the greatest risk to human health and the environment.
The bins sites identified as presenting the highest risk are to be closed first, with the lower risk sites closed over the next 2 to 3 years. This will allow the District Municipality of Muskoka sufficient time to undertake communication of the bin site closures to residents, and establish new, centralized, MECP approved waste transfer stations.
MP; Is this being done in any other region in Ontario?
MECP: We are not aware of any other municipalities operating unapproved waste transfer stations. If we become aware of other unapproved waste transfer stations in Ontario, ministry staff will ensure that they are brought into compliance so they do not present a risk to human health or the environment.