Here’s a letter that Stittsville Village Association president Tanya Hein wrote to StittsvilleCentral.ca:
Community compensation is a thin silver lining to the cloud of having a large landfill in our collective back yard. Unfortunately, the existing compensation program has been largely shrouded in secrecy, with few residents realizing its existence, and even fewer having any information about how projects are considered or evaluated, or about how the funds are allocated between the westernmost wards.
A 2001 settlement agreement suggests allocation of funds is to “be jointly determined by the City (acting through its manager of public works or such other person from time to time as it may designate for the purpose of this section) and CWS (Canadian Waste Services), each acting reasonably”. In this case, ‘reasonably’ means the landfill corporation can veto projects the community might deem worthy. Since that agreement, municipal control of the projects seems to have drifted to the western ward councillors, but there is no obvious process in place to ensure the community has input into how the money is used.
With community compensation being negotiated as part of the Host Municipality Responsibility Agreement for the new West Carleton Environmental Centre landfill expansion, the time is right to make this process transparent, and to get the community involved in how it wants to be paid for having another mountain of garbage along Carp Road. Community associations, shut out of the negotiation process, have nonetheless insisted that generous per-tonne levies and significant compensation for community projects need to be included in the host agreement. You can demonstrate your support for that position by making your views known at city hall, particularly to Mayor Watson, and Councillors El-Chantiry and Qadri.
Creating transparency doesn’t have to be complicated. The city and even Waste Management should be actively inviting residents and community groups to submit project ideas and rationales for why they believe their projects will benefit the community. Projects under consideration could be detailed on the city’s website, with ample opportunity for residents to share their support or opposition to each one.
Clear and concise evaluation criteria should be determined and made available for public consideration, and approved projects should be announced and detailed in a timely fashion.
Perhaps the decidedly un-public WCEC Public Liaison Committee that’s responsible for input and guidance about the ongoing development and operation of the landfill could be re-jigged to allow members of the public to attend and participate in its meetings, and to include community compensation spending updates in its reports.
No one wants a landfill in their community, but when a corporation convinces government to let that happen, it’s only fair that the affected community receive generous compensation and significant input into how that money is spent. I would encourage anyone who agrees with this sentiment to share their thoughts with their ward councillors.
President, Stittsville Village Association