Updates from Environmental Action Advisory Committee meeting

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North Grenville had its fourth Environmental Action Advisory Committee meeting, which was held virtually on the evening of September 27.

Committee member and North Grenville resident Mitch Bloom spoke about waste management at the meeting, telling the Committee that he knows very little about waste management himself, but that a recent survey he ran collected several hundred responses, with over half of respondents leaving a suggestion. Mitch reported that those who took the survey were generally in favour of the Township’s recent switch to bi-weekly garbage pick-up, although some residents had concerns about the unsanitary nature of having to store garbage for so long. Residents also had various suggestions related to recycling and other aspects of waste collection.

Next on the agenda was a presentation by Brandon Shipman, Engineering Technologist for the Municipality of North Grenville. Brandon spoke about the Blue Communities Project which is run by the Council of Canadians and advocates for clean water and sanitation services as human rights. Locally, the project could be supported by legislation, such as that banning the sale of bottled water in municipal buildings. Brandon recommended that North Grenville should not seek a Blue Communities Designation at this time but should instead appoint a working group to do research first.

Committee member Fred Schueler pointed out that the last resort policy of shutting off water services for North Grenville residents who don’t pay their bill seems to go against the goals of the Blue Communities Project. He suggested that unpaid water bills should be added to residents’ property tax bills instead, so their water service can resume. The discussion on the Blue Communities Project resulted in the conclusion that much work needs to be done before North Grenville is ready to seek the designation, and plans were made to start the process by giving a subcommittee four weeks to work on the issue.

Brandon Shipman addressed the Committee again and provided some good news – the amount of garbage being generated in North Grenville has gone down, seemingly in correlation with an increase in the number of households taking advantage of the organic collection program which has reached 40%. Brandon was unable to provide a definitive answer to Councillor Barclay’s question as to whether bag tag fees would need to increase to offset additional waste management costs in the future.

Other items were discussed and deliberated, with statistics and suggestions provided by municipal staff, Committee members, and councillors.

The Environmental Action Advisory Committee will meet again, virtually, in October.

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