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Friday, December 2, 2022

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Oxford Considers Dumping Transfer Station
Mark Rushton
/ Categories: News

Oxford Considers Dumping Transfer Station

Oxford Mayor Greg Henley says his priority is to save taxpayer dollars for the significant infrastructure challenges Oxford faces. 

He believes one way is by closing down the transfer station. That would mean waste disposal would change to curbside pickup.

Henley says an initial review of the costs tied to the existing transfer station, compared to the fees paid by the county and other municipalities, indicates a potential savings of $40,000 per year, or between $160 to $190 per household. The existing transfer station, costs Oxford taxpayers about $260 per year.

The Mayor says now is the time to put this on the table and seek agreement, before the Town’s contract with FERO —the company that hauls away the material from the station— comes up for renewal in the spring.

Henley says we don’t need to be spending those taxpayer dollars when there is a lower-cost alternative. He argues there are other factors to consider: with the current arrangements, there are a few hundred vehicles travelling to the Transfer Station, burning fuel and creating emissions. With one waste collection truck going through town, the environmental footprint should be lower.

Henley says the most often heard concern from residents is, “What will I do with the big stuff?”  He says the contract with waste collection companies specifies the frequency in which residents can dispose of large items curbside, often every two weeks, something he sees as manageable. 

Henley notes, “I lived in Prince Edward Island, where they had some of the strictest rules for waste disposal in Canada. Once you get the hang of it, it’s a piece of cake!”

When asked about compost pickup, which in the county is done every two weeks, Henley says public concern about wildlife is not a problem he experienced when living outside of town.

There is another concern with maintaining the central waste facility: rules around disposal of items are becoming more restrictive, to ensure waste goes where it should for proper disposal. He says there have been concerns raised that folks were tossing stuff into the disposal at the Oxford site that should have gone to another facility, such as Little Forks. 

In the past year, more oversight and inspection of the Oxford Transfer Station showed some concerns in that regard, and with people who still haven’t gotten the hang of proper separation of recyclable materials.

Staffing would not be affected with the closing, employees assigned to those duties would be absorbed into existing Public Works roles, and there is “enough work” to keep those workers busy.

Henley says, “We can have potholes and a transfer station, or we can have neither,” with scarce funding redirected to other priorities and more worker time available to get things done.

As for making the final decision, Henley notes that a plebiscite may not be legally required to make the change, but Town Council would probably want to go that route to ensure residents are onboard with the plan. 

But ultimately, he says, Council is “tasked to make the hard decisions.”

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