Central Manitoulin to work with local company toward pilot project, looking at other recyclable waste options

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MINDEMOYA – Central Manitoulin council has agreed that it will work with Manitoulin company Gagnon Renewables regarding the pilot project of a WE system for the municipality, which would include finding alternative uses for recyclables.

At a recent meeting, council reviewed a recommendation from its water, waste and education committee, “to support in principle the WE system as presented by Gagnon Renewables and that the municipality enter into discussions with Gagnon Renewables regarding the feasibility and viability of this system for Central Manitoulin.”

“I thought the presentation Gagnon Renewables made to the committee was pretty progressive and interesting,” said Mayor Richard Stephens.

Mayor Stephens told the Recorder after the meeting, “the WE system basically takes all recyclables and finds use for them. The recycling business is on life support these days.” The WE system would investigate “providing a reliable system using recyclables and having a purpose for them. We are also looking for solutions to the recyclables issue as well.”

Although details were scant about the particulars of this system, indications seem to suggest that it is a method of finding ways to reuse waste.

“I think the big thing is will the MOE (Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks) accept the pilot project,” said Councillor Dale Scott. “Hopefully it will happen.”

“Do we have any idea on what the costs will be on the study?” asked Councillor Derek Stephens.

It was pointed out no figure has been determined, but Mayor Stephens said at this point the municipality has not been asked for a contribution to the pilot project.

“The preliminary estimate we have is for a 15 percent estimate,” said Councillor Scott. “No dollar figures were presented and we won’t see anything until the project is given the go ahead by the government.” 

Councillor Al Tribinevicius questioned, “is there something we can do to try and convince the MOE to consider and endorse the project?”

It was noted by Councillor Rose Diebolt that the MOE is slow in making decisions on these types of issues. “The project idea is wonderful. My question is whether the municipality would be able to accumulate enough (recyclable) garbage for this to be viable.”

It was pointed out there had been some discussion at the committee meeting to the possibility of including Tehkummah and Assiginack. 

“The point of the pilot project is to look at Central Manitoulin and determine the base data and numbers if this project is feasible here, and if not then look to bring in other communities,” said Councillor Scott. “To begin they would be using data from our municipality. The big hurdles will be government approval for the pilot project and the business plan.” He agreed it might be a good idea for the municipality to send a letter to the province giving its support of the pilot project.

Councillor Tribinevicus said the pilot project is an excellent idea and said the district’s MP and MPP should be contacted to have the government give the go-ahead to the pilot project. 

“I don’t object to the project but we need the feasibility study results before approach the government, and see what the numbers are. Then we could write letters,” suggested Councillor Steve Shaffer. “Right now they are trying to determine if the pilot project is feasible and makes sense and I understand the feasibility study will mean very little financial responsibility for the municipality except for staff time and research.” 

“It’s not too early to start the groundwork,” said Councillor Scott.

Council passed a motion to support in principle the WE system as presented by Gagnon Renewables and that the municipality enter into discussions with Gagnon Renewables regarding the feasibility and viability of this system for Central Manitoulin.