Some dumps are more equal than others

Lorne Mountain Community Association is using a fundraising barbecue to roast the government’s funding of recycling centres.

Lorne Mountain Community Association is using a fundraising barbecue to roast the government’s funding of recycling centres.

The Mount Lorne Recycling Centre won’t be the only organization benefiting from the barbecue’s proceeds.

A portion of the donations will be given to the territory’s Community Services department to help it “afford to treat all recycling centres equally and fairly.”

The Dumpster Dining fundraiser is a soft protest against what the centre calls unfair and unequal treatment of recycling centres in the territory.

Prompted by a 50 per cent funding increase to the Marsh Lake dump, the Mount Lorne Garbage Management Society asked for a comparable funding increase for its dump and recycling centre.

The society asked the Community Services department in January for a $12,000 increase to its $24,000 budget.

The Marsh Lake operation received enough funding to pay 100 per cent of its wages, said Mount Lorne director Mike Bailie.

“We don’t have anywhere near (that level of funding),” he said.

“We’ve been told no, we won’t get an increase, over and over again.”

So the Lorne Mountain Community Association is hosting the fundraising BBQ.

People can head to the Mile 9 Dump on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a barbecue, bake sale and information on the centre’s clash with the government.

Community Services could get an unexpected small increase to its budget if the department accepts the association’s donation from the event.

“This is to help them treat every centre fairly and equally because they don’t seem to be able to do it on their own,” said Bailie.

There’s an open invitation to all MLAs. But will government politicians be on hand to accept the cheque?

“They probably won’t accept it,” said Bailie.

“I hope they do. It’s not meant to embarrass them.”

The Mount Lorne centre hasn’t seen a funding increase in 10 years.

It has one of the best diversion rates in North America, said Bailie.

About 40 per cent of material passing through the centre is recycled, compared to the 27 per cent Canadian average.

And that doesn’t include composting.

Volunteers keep the Mount Lorne operation alive, though there is one three-quarter-time paid position.

Marsh Lake has more staff and contracts out work to deal with tires, metal and fridges.

“We deal with those items ourselves,” said Bailie.

About 450 area homes use the dump in addition to 1,000 from surrounding hamlets.

The society was told it has to wait for a government review of similar operations in the territory before its funding request can be addressed.

The Marsh Lake operation is located in Education Minister Patrick Rouble’s riding.

The Mount Lorne centre is located in NDP MLA Steve Cardiff’s riding.

“Marsh Lake does a great job — that’s not the issue,” said Bailie.

“Compare this to a YTG employee. The union would be all over the disparity if two employees in the same job were paid differently.”

The government should be doing more to support recycling depots and encourage other communities, some of which still burn garbage, to set up similar facilities, said Bailie.

“The department should be using Mount Lorne’s success as a bragging point,” he said.