SIX NATIONS – After months of research preparing a waste management plan on Six Nations, Neegan Burnside released the results of the community survey they conducted in January at a meeting last week — the firm recommends that the community exports its waste to another site.
“Our recommendation is to export the waste using compaction equipment, or direct drive” said Kent Hunter, with Neegan Burnside. “It’s important to also implement an education system and to keep promoting proper recycling practices.”
Neegan Burnside, an engineer and environmental consulting firm, was hired by Six Nations Elected Council to identify a preferred 20-year long-term Integrated Waste Management System within the community. The current landfill site is full and can’t continue to operate in its current mode.
“If it does [continue to operate] there could be high potential for environmental impacts,” said Hunter at the community meeting on April 27.
In conducting its research, the firm talked to community members, looked at background documents, looked at other landfill sites, held a community meeting and conducted a survey that was available to community members online and through door-to-door mailing.
Only about 35 people were in attendance at the meeting held in January, which is fairly low, but 186 community members completed the survey.
“We know that there is roughly 12 thousand people in the community, 186 [completed surveys] might not sound like very many but when analyzed on a statistical perspective it turns out that that is actually a pretty good representation for the community,” said Hunter. “We feel that the results of the survey reflect the community’s opinions and values fairly well.”
The options presented to the community by Neegan Burnside were to; expand the existing site, export to another site, implement technology (an incinerator or similar), or diversion.
The survey results showed that the community wants the final selection to be environmentally friendly, cost effective and to make sense. The problem with expanding the current site or creating a new one was cost — a new landfill site was the most expensive option available, followed by implementing new technology. Another issue with technology that the firm found was that there is no technology available right now that will completely eliminate garbage, it will reduce waste but it wont completely eliminate it. Also there is still emissions and other environmental concerns that would need to be addressed.
The survey also showed that the community wants to remain independent and not just export their burden onto another community. Hunter said that while noble of them to want to remain independent, the businesses that Six Nations would export their waste to actually want their waste.
“There are sites around that make money from taking waste from other communities,” said Hunter. “Its not that you are putting a burden on other communities, these are companies that have gone into business, have reached agreement with landowners in the area and they are looking to bring waste into the community or into their site. That’s how they generate their income.”
Hunter explained that by exporting, Six Nations is not simply giving the problem to someone else. These other businesses off the reserve know how to dispose of it properly and have the means to do so. He said that if this method is selected in the end then some form of education should be given to the community to further explain how exporting the waste is not showing a lack of independence.
In terms of funding, the INAC funding formula supports exporting and direct drive to a disposal site so it would be the most cost-effective option once those details have been finalized and figured out.
The next step is for elected council to make a decision on the solutions Neegan Burnside has presented, but as of now Neegan Burnside is favouring the export option and according to the survey’s results, the community would have been content with any option selected.
“We understand that by choosing one option we are forced to compromise on other options, but the results showed that the community was OK with all of the presented options,” said Hunter. “we just need to pic the one that is the most environmentally sound, cost effective and makes the most sense.”