November 25, 2020

Dump can lower living costs

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MLAs Ezzard Miller and Arden Mclean yesterday joined Anthony Eden in support of the Bodden Town coalition opposing relocation of the George Town landfill, saying waste-to-energy conversion would cure the site’s ills.

“I don’t think we should abandon the single opportunity to lower the cost of living by producing energy to lower the costs of electricity and water as a byproduct,” Mr Miller told iNews Cayman.

“This would basically provide free water to everyone, and it would be distilled, so it’s the best in the world,” Mr Miller said.

East End opposition lawmaker Arden McLean said waste-to-energy conversion would generate eight megawatts of electricity, nearly one-ninth of the 74.3 megawatt Grand Cayman demand supplied by Caribbean Utilities Company.

The relocation of the landfill forms part of the Dart Realty-government ForCayman Alliance, a $1.2 billion, 30-year programme of construction and investment encompassing roads, hotels, schools, parks and the “closure, relocation and remediation” of the 58-acre George Town landfill, adjacent to Dart’s multi-million-dollar Camana Bay community, on a 110-acre Dart-owned site in Midland Acres, just outside Bodden Town.

The new site, dubbed an “Eco Park” by Dart planners, received approval from the Central Planninig Authority in October for site preparation such as roads, lighting and drainage works.

Dart, however, will not manage the new “waste-management” facility, leaving operations to government, which has promised recycling and reprocessing, incineration in a series of separate cells, opened one-by-one, and storage for a wide range of refuse including junked cars, tyres, construction and hurricane debris, and hazardous liquids.

“I believe there is no need to move the [landfill] because the technology is out there, and has improved to the point, to correct the problems we have had for 30 years,” Mr McLean said.

Both he and Mr Miller said improved management of the current dump would address long-delayed waste-to-energy plans, nearly realised under bipartisan efforts four years ago.

“I did a long study and was ready to go to an RFP [request for proposals, a formal tender] on it to assist the country. Then the recession hit us,” Mr McLean said. Current UDP Minister for Education Rolston Anglin and Deputy Speaker and West Bay MLA Cline Glidden had agreed at the time “that waste-to-energy was the answer,” he said.

“If we move the dump to Bodden Town, it’s just moving the problem, and in 40 years we’ll have the same problems again,” the PPM MLA said.

The 75-member Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free yesterday agreed that converting waste to energy in George Town was “the way to go for solving the landfill problem where it presently is, with absolutely no need to contaminate another site.”

Creating a conversion facility at the Midland Acres “Eco Park”, a coalition spokesman said, “in no way would reduce the traffic and noise problem of over 200 truckloads of garbage, per day, along the main road through the village. With the return trip, this adds up to more than 400 additional trucks every day.”

According to spokesman and 2009 Bodden Town independent political candidate Vincent Frederick, the group hoped to meet Bodden Town UDP MLAs Mark Scotland, also Minister of Health, and backbencher Dwayne Seymour either this afternoon or next Monday so they “might hear all concerns”.

Last Wednesday, 7 December, the group had replied to a 30 November invitation from the two representatives.

“The agreement with Dart to relocate the dump in Midland Acres is a threat to Bodden Town, to its people, its environment and its future,” Mr Frederick said, “but government has completely failed to consult Bodden Towners and to ask for their prior consent.

“Although a meeting with Mr. Seymour and Mr. Scotland is no substitute, it will give us another chance to demand that they represent their constituents, defend their district, and give voice to those who voted for them,” he said. “They were not elected by Dart.”

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