The Fundy Region
In 1989, the Fundy Solid Waste Action Team (Fundy SWAT) was formed with a mandate to develop a strategy for managing solid waste generated in the Fundy Region. Fundy SWAT consisted of representatives from the City of Saint John, the Towns of Grand Bay-Westfield, Saint John, Hampton, Rothesay, and Quispamsis, Village of St. Martins, and the parishes of Hampton, Rothesay, Kingston, Greenwich, Westfield, Petersville, Clarendon, Musquash, Saint Martins, and Simonds.
With direction from the region’s residents, Fundy SWAT undertook the challenge, by means of a democratic process, to resolve how to manage the Fundy Region’s solid waste.
Following the guidelines set by the Province, an extensive public communications process began. The goal was to gather residents’ opinions regarding proper requirements for waste handling. Fundy SWAT became a household name. The search for a local solution to a local problem became everyone’s concern.
The Fundy Region was the last region in New Brunswick to complete the challenge of orchestrating the closing of the dumps and opening of the new landfill. Notification that the 11 small dumps were subject to closure came from the Minister of the Environment, Vaughan Blaney. Upon the Minister’s announcement, plans to commence the opening of a landfill in the Fundy Region began. The Fundy Region was in search of a local solution to a local problem.
The aim of the public information and consultation program was to be proactive in addressing the solid waste management concerns of the residents. A newsletter called SWAT Talk was published in order to capture the concerns of the residents and groups over the two year period of gathering options.
Two-way dialogue with the public through written surveys, phone surveys, public workshops, and open public hearings was also an integral part of the decision making process. Everyone was welcome to speak at the meetings as either an individual or a representative of a group.
After two years of research and public consultation, many concerns were recognized and in a cumulative fashion, recorded, and evaluated. A collaborative effort by many produced a set of Guiding Principles for the Environmental Impact Assessment. At the end of the public information and consultation phase, the following statements were adopted as the guiding principles for solid waste management in the Fundy Region:
We are committed to a hierarchy of waste management options. The order of priorities for waste management shall be reduction, reuse, recycle, and recovery. Wastes that presently cannot practically be dealt with in these ways should be disposed of in landfills, incinerators, or other technology, whichever is most appropriate for the particular waste stream in question.
Our most important waste management measures are those that reduce the volume of waste we generate.
We should strive to make products and packaging reusable and to encourage their reuse.
Recycle and Compost
We should strive to recycle or compost all wastes.
We should attempt to recover energy, gases, fibres, or other products from the waste generated, and from the waste contained in closed out disposal facilities.
A firm commitment to the ongoing progress of waste management options should be reflected in policies, goals, planning, budgets, and staff involved in waste management.
We must continually monitor the composition, volumes, and sources of our waste and the products of their disposition in order to evaluate existing programs.
All residents, businesses, and institutions in our region are waste generators and should be involved in waste reduction efforts.
There must be full public discussion of potential sites, and of short and long term effects of each waste management facility.