Definiteness on the dump

Watson Lake is not giving preferential treatment to contractors at the municipal dump. The town recently restricted what kinds of garbage are accepted at the landfill, and instituted tipping fees.

Watson Lake is not giving preferential treatment to contractors at the municipal dump.

The town recently restricted what kinds of garbage are accepted at the landfill, and instituted tipping fees.

Rumours abounded that some commercial contractors were given preferential treatment – that the town was giving some contractors a break, but not others.

“That’s untrue,” said the chief administrative officer Stephen Conway.

The changes to the landfill rules have been well publicized, but there are still people who are unaware of them, said Conway.

Sure, one contractor received a break, he said. But “it’s not a question of favouritism,” he added.

“What we have done is, where there’s hardships, and people don’t know, we’ll let them in once as an education process,” said Conway.

“People are still getting used to it.”

They’ve had to be more vigilant to conform to the Yukon government’s permit requirements.

The town is trying to comply with all the new regulations, but it has some concerns, said Conway

Right now the landfill permit is unsigned.

Negotiations are ongoing with the territory, and everything should be resolved by the end of the summer, said Conway.

“Not withstanding certain issues we have with YTG on the permits, we are trying to comply as best we can with all those provisions,” he said.

A big issue for the town was past liability.

While the territory has taken on responsibility for the past, going forward it’s the town that’s on the hook.

“We’re scared if we take certain items, what kind of environmental impact will they have?” said Mayor Richard Durocher. “Will it be a liability that could bankrupt the town?”

The municipality has a committee looking into the problem, but its report won’t be ready for three months.

In the meantime the town is playing it safe.

“I’ve asked members of the community to be patient,” said Durocher. “It’s not that we won’t accept certain items, we’ve just got to make sure we can manage them if we do accept them.”

But some people are not patient.

While the tipping fees are low compared to Whitehorse, not everyone is willing to pay them.

Some people have been dumping garbage illegally.

“We’ve caught at least one person,” said Conway. “I don’t know if it’s more, but we’ve definitely caught people.”

Any one caught illegally dumping within the municipality could face a fine of up to $5,000.

Contact Josh Kerr at

joshk@yukon-news.com

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