Proposed landfill encounters opposition

Public meetings were scheduled for Jan. 20 to discuss a proposed private landfill in the Rural Municipality of Caledonia, south of Regina.

Loraas Disposal received council’s permission to investigate putting a landfill within the RM and that is far as it has gone, said reeve Mark Beck.

“We met with them in the summer,” he said. “Right now, it’s very preliminary.”

Some residents say the proposed site contains native prairie and a sharp-tailed grouse mating ground, and is near waterways.

They have started an online petition to stop the plan.

Curtis West, general manager at Loraas in Regina, said he would prefer to wait until after the public meetings to comment, but he did say there is misinformation floating around that he hoped to address.

The site, according to the public notice, is privately owned land in the northwestern corner of the RM where it abuts the RM of Elmsthorpe.

It would be built and operated according to Alberta standards, which are deemed best practices, the notice said, and accept and divert recyclable material, steel and compost material.

The proponents say landfill cells would be constructed with compacted clay and/or geosynthethic liners to limit infiltration, have an external diversion ditch to direct fresh surface water around the site and an internal diversion ditch and runoff holding pond to manage water within the site.

It would have a leachate evaporation pond and a landfill gas management system. As well, garbage would be covered daily. The site would be fully fenced with 16-foot litter screens around the tipping area, 20-foot meshing around active cells and three rows of trees around the perimeter.

Blaine Sudom, speaking on behalf of those opposed, said he is concerned about the selected site. He currently rents and farms part of the land.

“There’s two fairly major water runs that go across it that feed into the Moose Jaw River,” he said during an interview. “The landfill would be between these two water runs.”

There is native grass on three sides and a sharp-tailed grouse mating ground in the middle. Sudom said he has watched the birds for years and said the landfill would definitely destroy the mating ground for about 40 birds.

“We try to stay away from that area when they’re performing their mating rituals,” he said. “It’s a very impressive thing to see. They dance there, I presume they mate and then they fly off into the pasture.”

A community pasture is on two sides; Sudom believes that’s where the birds nest and raise their young.

Seven ratepayers formed the Facebook group, Citizens Against the Proposed Loraas Landfill in the RM of Caledonia, to publicize their concerns.

People can link to the petition at change.org from the page. Nearly 1,100 people had signed as of Jan. 18.

Sudom said these include local residents and people from around the province.

The petition asks that the proposed landfill be stopped.

Sudom said other than public meetings there was no mechanism for people who are opposed to be able to register their concerns with the province’s environment ministry.

He said they recognize that a landowner can sell private land but they want their voices heard.

He suggested that a better site would be somewhere on the Regina Plains where there is a deep clay layer, no birds and no waterways.

“I’m not really opposed to putting it in Caledonia but I think it would be hard to find a site that doesn’t drain into the Moose Jaw Creek,” he said.

Sudom added that many question the carbon footprint of hauling garbage from places like Regina and Moose Jaw, as well as the impact to local roads.

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