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City must still submit two reports to RM as part of landfill approval process

Associated Engineering (AE) and GHD Ltd., the landfill project consultants, gave a virtual presentation during the April 8 regular council meeting about what’s happened with the project and what needs to happen. 

City hall must still submit two reports to the Rural Municipality of Moose Jaw as part of the approval process for the proposed landfill, with those reports expected soon.

Associated Engineering (AE) and GHD Ltd., the project consultants, gave a virtual presentation during the April 8 regular council meeting about what’s happened with the project and what needs to happen. 

The project team has been meeting weekly with the RM since January to keep it informed about the initiative, explained AE’s Jennifer Taylor. 

After the city submitted its discretionary use application (DUA) and the RM reviewed it, the latter requested that the consultants submit a traffic impact assessment (TIA) report now instead of later in the process, she continued.

“This assessment will help (the RM council) to better understand the future impacts of development on the surrounding road network, and it will inform specific upgrades that they believe will be needed to address traffic safety,” Taylor said. 

The project team — in consultation with the RM and the Ministry of Highways — has nearly finished writing the TIA, she added. Once completed, the team will submit an updated DUA with the traffic study included. 

In response to a council question, Taylor said the city should have the draft TIA by April 12. The project team then wants to meet with the RM to discuss the document, answer questions, and go through the final revisions. 

Besides incorporating the TIA into the updated discretionary use application, the team will also submit a copy to the Ministry of Highways for approval since the report will highlight the intersection upgrades that may be required on Highway 2, she continued. Furthermore, the ministry will work with the RM to ensure that all recommendations in the report are followed. 

It shouldn’t take the province too long to review and approve the TIA because the project team and ministry have had three meetings and the latter has been constantly reviewing the draft traffic report, Taylor stated.

“We expect a fairly quick turnaround time, so by the end of the month,” she added.

Meanwhile, the project team must still submit a site suitability report to the RM, according to Reeve Ron Brumwell.

New landfills

Coun. Doug Blanc asked whether newer landfills have opened in the past few years in Saskatchewan or adjacent provinces and how those have been handled.

GHD’s Mark Parker said there have been “a few” that have opened. He said that siting a new dump is “a long and difficult process,” which is why regulators and consultants attempt to construct new venues with 100-year lifespans so they don’t face issues afterward.

“Each one should be considered as its own thing. The concerns of residents, the location and geology, all of it is separate,” he continued. “While we do lean on experiences from the past, it is not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to solid waste management (venues).”

Those new landfills likely faced similar concerns from rural municipalities and rural landowners — such as land devaluation, litter, odour and dust — as Moose Jaw-area residents have, Blanc said. He wondered how the province managed those concerns after construction was complete. 

Neither engineering firm can answer the question about land values because that’s “outside of our realm” of expertise, said Parker. However, the other concerns are addressed through the province’s criteria for venue design and operations; the Ministry of Environment (MoE) will only approve the project if proponents address those requirements.    

Best practices

Coun. Jamey Logan inquired about what would happen if the city did not adhere to its venue operations plan, if litter, dust or traffic became an annoyance, and what steps the province would take.

Parker said that the MoE uses several mechanisms to penalize organizations that fail to follow regulations when operating landfills. Furthermore, it reviews sites’ operations regularly, from the start of construction to daily activities. 

The next regular council meeting is Monday, April 22. 

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