A public hearing for the City of Moose Jaw’s discretionary use application to the RM of Moose Jaw turned heated on Tuesday night at the Moose Jaw Events Centre. 

While city staff were on hand to defend the decision, many residents in the RM turned out for the meeting to voice their displeasure. The public hearing was for the RM of Moose Jaw council to gather information as it decides the fate of the city’s discretionary use application for the proposed solid waste facility. 

“There are still an awful lot of unanswered questions which makes it hard for council to approve something when you’re not really sure what you’re approving,” said RM of Moose Jaw Reeve Ron Brumwell. “I know that they discussed how the process works, but that’s their side of it, not necessarily our side of it.” 

Brumwell said more information will be needed before the RM decides on the discretionary use application in the next couple of months. 

“We haven’t seen the traffic impact analysis, so turning off Highway 2 at the initial meeting with Highways they thought that turning lanes would be sufficient, but we haven’t had that in writing,” Brumwell said.  

“We haven’t had a site suitability report from the (Ministry of) Environment which we requested. We’ve got a lot of those questions that have been asked tonight that can’t be answered.” 

Wilda Soper owns land neighbouring the proposed site about 2.5 kilometres north of the city. She felt that the city hadn’t been open and honest with the residents about the project and how the site will be used. 

“No one deemed it necessary to approach us, city and rural residents, who will be directly affected by the proposed facility. No one thought to inquire, just as they did with CFB, as to what our boundaries might be or what our expectations are,” she said at the hearing. 

She questioned whether the city would be moving public works to the site or had future plans to move public works to the site. 

Director of Operations Bevan Harlton clarified that the discretionary use application does not include moving public works to the site and there are no plans to move public works to the site. Whether it could happen in the future, Harlton said he doesn’t have a crystal ball and couldn’t tell what could happen down the road. 

She also asked if annexation would be plan “B” if the discretionary use application didn’t go through. City manager Maryse Carmichael said discussion would need to continue with the RM and nothing would be off the table. 

Cal Soper also said that the RM of Moose Jaw’s bylaws should not allow for the solid waste facility. 

He was particularly concerned about his home quarter, which he said is across the road from the proposed site. 

“My near future plan is to build a house on our own quarter section, which by rights we are allowed to have two residential developments on. That would not happen if this were to be approved. We will not be able to subdivide any of our land for future development,” he said.  

“Zoning bylaws also state that a waste disposal facility cannot include dangerous goods, hazardous waste or biochemical waste. How will that be monitored? Whether the RM monitors that or what, it’s pretty hard to tell what’s going into the landfill right now.” 

Former city councillor and RM ratepayer Brian Swanson spoke saying that the city hasn’t exhausted all of their options. 

Despite the city saying that expanding the current landfill is not viable because of the costs, regulatory setbacks and the existing geology does not meet standards for the Ministry of Environments. 

Swanson felt the land east of the landfill is city-owned and the money saved from not purchasing new land could have been used to hire engineers and consultants and make that land meet regulations. 

An intriguing presentation was given by Randall Johnson, president of Aspen Innovation Park. His company used Carbotura technology to convert 100 per cent of solid waste into reusable material. He told the hearing he is close to getting a contract with the City of Regina and is looking for other municipalities that are willing to contract them to recycle solid waste in landfills. 

The city said to the hearing that they would be willing to meet with Johnson and Brumwell was also curious about the presentation. 

Information about the proposed solid waste management facility project can be found on the city’s website.