It was a packed room at the April 26, 2023 Open House meeting organized as the first step in the proposed expansion of the Mayer Waste Facility, located in Champlain Township east of Hawkesbury between Front Road and Highway 17. The expansion requires an individual environmental assessment. The process for approval could take until spring of 2026.

Several citizens were unsettled by the informal open-house meeting and at one point, a woman called for everyone’s attention and asked people to raise their hands if they would like to have a meeting that was more of a ‘town hall’ format. Most people raised their hands.

Consultant Blair Shoniker of GHD, the engineering firm hired by Mayer, replied that the open house was the first meeting in the process but said that if the community would like a public meeting, “We could plan for that.”

The landfill site has been in operation since 1955. The domestic landfill received approval for expansion in 2003.

The entire site encompasses 36 hectares. Twelve hectares are being used as landfill, which accepts municipal and solid non-hazardous industrial waste. The industrial landfill was closed in 2008.

The site currently receives 480 tonnes of waste per day.

At the open house, a series of panels outlined the process, which could take two or more years.

Panels also briefly outlined three proposed alternatives for the expansion, which would increase the capacity and extend the life of the existing landfill at the Mayer facility.

The annual volume accepted at the site would not change.

Proposed Alternative One

Alternative One would mean expansion to the south and east, with a footprint increased by 6.72 hectares, relocation of on-site buildings and relocation of one pond. (Note that each of the proposed alternatives includes a lined site with leachate collection for the expansion.)

Proposed Alternative Two

Alternative Two would mean expansion to the north and east, including a .375-metre height increase, a footprint increased by 6.4 hectares, no disruption of on-site infrastructure and relocation of three ponds.

Proposed Alternative Three

This expansion would be east of the existing site, would represent a one-metre increase over the small portion, a footprint increased by 5.12 hectares, no disruption of on-site infrastructure and the relocation of one pond.

From left, Alternatives 1, 2 and 3 for the proposed Mayer Waste Facility expansion.

Environmental Assessment components include air quality, odour and noise, land and aquatic environment, geology/hydrogeology and surface water. Built environment elements include land use, soil and agriculture and visual landscape.

Traffic and community character would be considered as part of the social environment. Local employment and the official plan and by-laws would be considered as part of the economic environment.

The Mayer waste facility is looking to expand. The landfill site, located in Champlain Township east of Hawkesbury between Front Road and Highway 17, has been in operation for decades. Located at 194 County Road 17, the approximately 25-hectare property is the destination for most of the waste produced by the Town of Hawkesbury.

According to a notice published in the April 12 edition of The Review, the proposed expansion would not change the type of volume of waste currently accepted at the site.

The site has a current annual volume of 16,000 cubic metres and is seeking approval for a total capacity of 650,000 cubic metres. The increase is roughly equivalent to another 40 years of capacity at the site, if the current annual volume stays the same.

In 2003, the Ministry of Environment approved an expansion assessed at approximately 400,000 cubic meters of additional non-hazardous solid waste landfill capacity, representing approximately 20 years of additional landfill capacity.

A public information center is scheduled for April 26, 2023, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Quality Inn & Suites at 1575 Tupper Street in Hawkesbury.

The process will include public consultation, preparing Terms of Reference for an Environmental Assessment, a draft Environmental Assessment (EA), Ministry review and possibly approval of the EA, looking ahead to tentative EA approval in 2025 and then spring of 2026 implementation.

The Review has contacted the consulting firm to ask if a date has been set for the public meeting. A follow-up email sent to those who attended the open house meeting indicated that the comment period for feedback or questions from the open house meeting is May 10, 2023. Questions or comments can be forwarded to: directly to [email protected].

The email also indicated that the preference for a presentation-format meeting, along with a question-and-answer period, was favoured by most of those in attendance.