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Siting the Fundy Region’s Landfill

With the Guiding Principles adopted, the groundwork began to determine where the landfill would be sited. Through a careful process of site selection, the Department of Environment in conjunction with the Commission reduced 157 possible sites to six.

The results of the next stage in the evaluation revealed two sites tied for first, and a third scored much lower in the evaluation. The two top sites were at Crane Mountain and Paddy’s Hill. An extensive Environmental Assessment was conducted on both the Crane Mountain and Paddy’s Hill sites. When attempts to purchase the land at Crane Mountain were unsuccessful, the other site (Paddy’s Hill), which is adjacent to the City’s then active Spruce Lake dump, was put forward for Cabinet approval.

With Environmental Impact Assessment hearings completed in February 1995, the local community of Lorneville put forth emotional arguments against the Paddy’s Hill site.

Consequently, there was little support from both the municipal and provincial governments for the Paddy’s Hill site. It appeared that both top sites had been eliminated, and a local solution could not be generated. The waste would have to be exported to Westmorland-Albert near Moncton. This was recommended publicly, without any financial consideration. At the same time, closure of the 11 dump sites in the region was taking place, and unbudgeted disposal costs to the municipalities began to build. In addition, the Spruce Lake Dump was given a deadline for closure.

The Commission, now realizing the lack of municipal and provincial governmental support, prepared a factual and sobering financial report, detailing the true cost to export the region’s solid waste. The true cost totalled in excess of $200 million over the 25-year term. The largest Commission of the 13 Commissions in New Brunswick would face a loss of economic benefits of $200 million if a landfill was not sited in the region.

The closure of the Spruce Lake Dump and the Commission’s financial report exploring the true cost to export the region’s waste provided the incentive for the Cabinet to approve the Crane Mountain site.

In 1997, the Commission put together an aggressive schedule to open a new containment landfill. Within one year, the landfill at Crane Mountain was open and receiving waste. This eliminated the extreme costs associated with shipping waste out of the region. Local infrastructure was planned to allow for waste diversion programs. The combination of the new state-of-the-art landfill and the waste diversion programs will provide an answer to the Fundy Region’s waste disposal for many years to come.