A couple of inter-municipal agreements came up back-to-back on Antigonish Town Council’s Sept. 16 meeting agenda, under new business.
Both the household hazard waste depot agreement with the Municipal of the County of Antigonish, and the IT (information technology) shared service memorandum of understanding (MOU), with eight neighbouring municipalities, were passed as motions by council; the MOU just in phase one.
“Once a year, we used to pay money with the county to do a household hazardous-waste [drop-off event] and now we’re going to have a spot that is open all year long,” Antigonish Mayor Laurie Boucher said.
“People can come in and get rid of their household hazardous waste whenever.”
The once-a-year event would take place in the Antigonish Market Square parking lot and Boucher said they might still hold something similar, for residents who can’t get out to the site in the county, where the depot will be located, but having a permanent drop-off site will be a huge upgrade.
“We’re excited to partner with the county on this,” she said. “It’s another step with recycling and getting rid of waste, household hazardous waste, the proper way … much better for the environment.”
Warden Owen McCarron was talking about the agreement and new set-up a day later.
“For many years, we hosted an annual hazardous waste clean-up with the town,” he said. “This year we decided - there was more asks to have something on a more permanent basis - so we just felt hosting it at our landfill on Beech Hill would provide something year-round,” McCarron explained.
“Sometimes people collect things throughout the year and it is a long time to expect people to wait for a one-time drop-off. We just felt this was a great opportunity for residents, of both the town and county, to be able to take hazardous waste to the landfill site for proper disposal. The goal is to have those items in the correct spot, rather than just have it dumped anywhere.”
The agreement is for cost-sharing equally.
“We are looking forward to that working well into the future for both municipal units,” McCarron said, noting Sea Cans (former rail cars) will be the storage area.
“Throughout the course of the year, as things build up, then we will bring in the appropriate disposal people to take care of it," McCarron said. “It just gives our residents, in both the county and town, a better opportunity to get rid of unwanted hazardous waste.”
Boucher stressed, with the IT idea, it’s something the town has needed for a while. The talk was of some staff members breaking away from their duties to help with technology around the office.
“It’s really hard and stressful on staff to be doing something like that; something so important in this day and age,” she said.
“We have to do due diligence to make sure our records are secure, and that our systems are secure. When something goes down as far as IT, computers, it’s staff’s time we’re losing as well.
“You have to be online to do your work so this is integral to our organization and to be able to partner with other municipalities, it’s the way of the future and we’re happy to do it.”
Boucher noted they just passed the first of three phases.
“That’s contributing $5,000 to $7,000 towards the total costs within the nine municipalities and it’s get someone to do an overall audit of the system; what we need here as opposed to what they might need in other municipalities, to see what kind of a system might work,” she said.
“Would it be one person who does all of the municipalities or do we contract it out to a company, or is it a hybrid of that? We aren’t sure of what staff will come back with; but this is the first step to find out if it’s possible and what everyone’s needs are.”
In talking about inter-municipal agreement in general, Boucher said they can help each municipality do more, for less.
“These are other examples of being able to do more if we partner with people,” she said.