Is the Green Cart program enough

 

The Region of Halton recently announced that it was going forward with a Green Cart Program to help reduce the amount of waste that heads to our landfill site. In case people are unaware of where that landfill site is, take a trip down 25 (Bronte Road) south of Derry and you will soon see it.

There was quite the discussion during the last municipal election on what should be done with the landfill, which is quickly approaching capacity. With the hundreds and hundreds of new homes being built in the area there will be a further demand on that landfill and its up to us as residents to do our part.

The Region of Halton currently has the Blue Box program in place. You are to put glass, plastics etc in one box and in the other we place the acceptable paper products, boxes, etc. As of April 2008 it was announced that residents will be able to put all products into one box instead of separating it, given the improvement in the separation technology available.

During that campaign a debate raged on about the EFW (Energy From Waste) proposal that was put before Regional Council and the pros and cons involved. In essence, an incinerator would be built at the landfill and the waste would then be burned using clean technology to produce energy that would be used in the region of Halton and beyond. Coupled with this proposal there was the much maligned Pristine Power Plant issue that seemed to dominate the last half of the campaign.

Recently Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr along with council announced that it was putting the EFW option aside permanently and focusing only on the existing programs and the Green Cart.

Does it go far enough?

With our landfill approaching capacity quickly (some analysts have said that within 25 years Halton will be required to have another landfill or another option in place for our garbage) will simply placing household food scraps and other materials in our Green Box do the job? With the landfill approaching capacity by 2023 according to Halton Region analysis, we need to take sufficient action now. The addition of the Green Cart program will add 7 years to the life of the landfill where the EFW facility would solve our problems for close to 50 years from now.

The EFW program, according to the proposal and the experts would have added at least another 100 years to the life of the Halton landfill. Does the Green Cart program go far enough?

At first glance it would seem that unless I’m mistaken and someone can hopefully provide me with more information, that it would have little affect on the amount of garbage at the landfill. The Region of Halton, and residents in general, need to come up with a longer range plan to solve the landfill issue.

Of course costs will be a major factor in making this decision. Who pays for it, how will we pay for it, etc. But the main question remains, what will it cost if nothing gets done? What if we wait until the landfill is near capacity and decisions have to be made then? The cost to taxpayers will pale in comparison and who knows the effect on our environment.

The amount of available land is decreasing with every new resident that we welcome to the area. What other options are there available to increase the life of our landfill?

It seems that the easier political issue would be to scrap the EFW and go with the easier to sell Green Cart Program. Tough decision are going to have to be made NOW and not 25 years from now when our landfill is overflowing and the residents will be screaming for answers.

Lets look at all the options … now, before its too late. Food scraps and other items just wont cut it.

Do we need more regional councillors

Region of Halton

In a recent decision by Halton Regional Council, they are going to review the number of councillors. Normally I would be opposed to something like this but I am interested in what is going to be discussed in this review.

You would have to be living under a rock to not know how fast Milton is growing. If you take a look at the existing structure you will see a drastic imbalance in the representation. Maybe a few years ago, it was fine because of the population distribution but right now, and in the coming years, Milton is out numbered.

So … when do we increase? When the growth is finished or do we make gradual changes as the population changes? Its a tough call.

Our regional councillors and Mayor Krantz (Milton’s 3 representatives) have a tough road to haul over the next few years. As Milton grows in population, so will the demand on their time and the resources available to them.

There will be some talk needed about the increase in population in all three municipalities that encompass the Region of Halton. At this point, if Milton required some changes, they could possibly be outvoted by the 2 other municipalities at the drop of a dime.

Its important to the success of regional council that there be some equity in the representation. Its a topic that needs to be discussed and a time line developed as quickly as possible in order to maintain a much needed and fair balance at the region.

As expected the possible changes were met with some resistance from Oakville and Burlington regional councillors. The overall intent of the committee shouldnt be just to figure out if we “need” more politicians, but to make sure the balance of all towns/cities is kept in Halton. Recently, the Champion did an article on the recent decision.

Committee to look at representation
Melanie Cummings, Special to the Champion
Published on Sep 21, 2007

Halton councillors may have to make room for more politicians around the council table, depending on the outcome of a newly created committee.

Regional council gave the go ahead Wednesday to establish the Regional Representation Review Sub-Committee that will examine the appropriateness of the current number of council members.

The four mayors from Oakville, Burlington, Halton Hills and Milton, plus Regional Chair Gary Carr will examine whether more councillors are needed and report back to the administration and finance committee by March 2008.

Oakville Councillor Keith Bird said that mayors and the regional chair were chosen to study the issue so as to eliminate any self-interest affecting the recommendations.

The suggestion to set up a sub-committee on the topic barely made its way to council Wednesday as it was narrowly approved at last week’s administration and finance committee meeting.

Halton Hills Councillor Clark Somerville said at the committee meeting that he was opposed to the concept.

“I don’t think there are people out there saying, ‘We need more politicians,'” he said. “I think we have a model that’s working right now.”

But Burlington Councillor Rick Craven disagreed.

“From my point of view in the City of Burlington, members of council are generally feeling overwhelmed. The paper work alone is truly amazing,” he said. “It’s time to study this question and we have the time to do it right. Let’s get on with it.”

While Milton Mayor Gord Krantz said he has no problem taking a look at the current representation, he concurred with Somerville that there’s not a big demand in the community for more politicians.

Carr said there are more fundamental issues council needs to deal with and said any decision to increase representation would have to get approval from the provincial government.