After over 12 months of advocacy, Retail Council of Canada (RCC) has been successful in convincing Halifax Regional Council to:

  • Maintain the current tipping fee rate for Industrial Commercial Institutional (ICI) residual waste (aka: garbage) at its Otter Lake Waste Management Facility.
  • Allow for the export of ICI residual waste outside of Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM).

The initial recommendation from city staff was for a 36% increase in tipping fees while allowing the ICI sector to transport its garbage to neighbouring municipalities with cheaper tipping fees. Over the past year, many Halifax Councillors spoke publicly against allowing ICI waste to be transported outside of the municipality. Businesses in HRM already pay among the highest tipping fees in the country ($125 per tonne) thus; the proposal to increase the fee to $170 per tonne was extremely troubling for businesses.

This RCC victory allows retailer choice in looking for potential cost savings in neighbouring municipalities. This victory also keeps costs at their current level for retailers who continue to use the Otter Lake Waste Management Facility.

What RCC Did / Next Steps:

RCC wrote to the Halifax Mayor and Councillors on this issue and met individually with a number of Halifax Councillors.

RCC continually made the point that city Councillors should not expect the business sector to pay for the city’s questionable decisions regarding solid waste management. RCC reminded Councillors that it was the city’s decision to create a monopoly for one company handling all of HRM’s solid waste. It was the city’s decision to give this company an overly generous contract while promising the community surrounding the Otter Lake Landfill that the landfill would always use a front end processor (FEP) and a waste stabilization facility (WSF).

RCC also reminded Councillors that although solid waste management practices vary between municipalities, Nova Scotia’s provincial regulations regarding solid waste management are so stringent that every municipality in Nova Scotia is considered a national leader in solid waste management. Every other municipality in Nova Scotia achieves this recognition without needing to use an FEP or a WSF. Halifax city staff members have stated that the combined FEP and WSF at the Otter Lake facility have an approximate cost to taxpayers of $62.00 per tonne.

In contrast, the current posted tipping fees at the closest solid waste management facilities to HRM range from approximately $75.00 to $80.00 per tonne.

RCC reminded Councillors that businesses in Halifax already pay among the highest property taxes and water / wastewater taxes in the country. Increasing tipping fees creates yet another obstacle to business success in HRM.

In a speech to Halifax Regional Council on February 3, 2015, RCC called for no increase in tipping fees and for businesses to have the choice of exporting ICI residual waste to neighbouring municipalities.

RCC will continue to monitor this file and fight against city proposal that could have a negative effect on retailer costs in Halifax Regional Municipality.

Background:

With a few exceptions, it is the responsibility of businesses in HRM to ensure that their ICI makes it to the Otter Lake Waste Management Facility.

HRM is in a twenty-five year contract with Mirror Nova Scotia. Under the contract, Mirror Nova Scotia receives an incredible deal of cost plus twenty-five percent to run the solid waste landfill.

HRM uses a front end processor (FEP) and waste stabilization facility (WSF) at the Otter Lake site. This allows an extra level of garbage sorting but it comes at significant additional cost for the municipality. When HRM chose the Otter Lake site for its solid waste, it promised the neighbouring communities that the FEP / WSF would always be used. This promise was made at a time when the Otter Lake Facility was also accepting compostable material and thus, the FEP / WSF would be used to help diminish the smell emanating from the Otter lake Facility. Over fifteen years ago, provincial legislation changed and thus, the Otter Lake Facility could no longer accept compostable material. Therefore, the business community has argued that the FEP / WSF are no longer needed. For political reasons, HRM has little appetite to get rid of the front end processor and thus, they are constantly looking for additional revenues to not only pay for the FEP / WSF but for the bad contract that they signed with Mirror Nova Scotia.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact Jim Cormier at: [email protected] or 902-422-4144