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Kirkland Lake may yet see ‘Hogtown’ trash

TORONTO, Ont. - Word is spreading that Toronto's trash may no longer get trucked to Michigan, but get taken to the Adams Mine landfill in northern Ontario by train.Toronto's general manager for solid ...


RAILROADED: Truckers may lose the juicy garbage contract to rail.
RAILROADED: Truckers may lose the juicy garbage contract to rail.

TORONTO, Ont. – Word is spreading that Toronto’s trash may no longer get trucked to Michigan, but get taken to the Adams Mine landfill in northern Ontario by train.

Toronto’s general manager for solid waste management services, Angelo Bacopoulos, is scheduled to meet with Keith West, the province’s director of waste management.

Bacopoulos told reporters that Ontario has requested a briefing on details of the city’s contract with Republic Services, the U.S. firm that will truck Toronto’s trash to Michigan landfill sites.

“This is not unusual,” Bacopoulos told to Toronto’s works committee yesterday. He added that city officials had met with provincial environment ministry staff on “six or seven occasions” over the past year.

At the same city committee meeting, several members were startled by Bacopoulos’ news and mentioned rumors of the province’s interest in taking over Toronto’s trash disposal.

The contract with Republic would reportedly be bought out by the province, which would then restart talks with Rail Cycle North, the Ontario company that owns the abandoned Adams Mine near Kirkland Lake, Ont.

As every day passes, pressure mounts on the city to get the issues solved, once and for all. Garbage from Toronto is currently shipped to the Keele Valley Landfill, in Ontario’s york region.

Negotiations to ship the waste to the Adams Mine fell through last October, even though Toronto council had approved the $1-billion contract to haul the city’s trash 600 kilometers north. The contract came apart after Rail Cycle North had problems meeting the financial obligations of the deal.

Republic Services operates landfill facilities in rural Michigan. The Michigan plan is very unpopular with officials of cities between Michigan and Toronto. They object to having the 200-odd trucks a day running along the 401 in their area.

Also opposed to the Michigan plan is State Governor John Engler. He has sent a letter to the city asking it to reconsider.

For its part, the Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) says the trucking of Toronto’s trash to Michigan doesn’t pose any safety or environmental hazards, as feared by many municipalities along the route.

“While perhaps there are waste-management issues that need to be considered – some people may be trying to make this a trucking issue and it isn’t,” says David Bradley, president of the OTA.

Bradley noted that the Michigan plan’s required 200-trucks equals about one per cent of the commercial-vehicle traffic already running the corridor. n


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