At the Association of Yukon Communities’ Annual General Meeting in Haines Junction last week, Minister of Community Services John Streicker announced that the government is moving forward on implementing several key recommendations from the Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste regarding tipping fees, regionalization, landfill liability and user pay. The changes will make Yukon’s solid waste management system more financially and environmentally sustainable.
The government will enter into agreements with municipal landfills to help them better serve their regions. As these agreements are reached, the Government of Yukon will close down the smallest, most expensive (per capita) transfer stations and concentrate savings into regional landfills. At the same time, tipping fees will be introduced at all landfills to move from tax-base funding to user pay and eliminate “dump shopping.” Fines for illegal dumping will also increase.
The Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste’s next priority is to assess recycling programs and find sustainable solutions to recycling in the North.
Yukon’s current solid waste management system is not financially or environmentally sustainable and it is time to do some of the heavy lifting. Together with our municipal partners, we are moving towards a user pay, regional waste management system, which will level the playing field and ensure that all Yukoners pay a similar cost to dispose of their waste. I am proud of our governments moving forward together on these key recommendations from the Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste and want to thank the municipalities for their work and support. This is just one step towards improving our waste management system. More steps will follow.
Minister of Community Services John Streicker
Waste management is a priority for the City of Whitehorse and we were happy to participate on the Ministerial Committee looking at the issue territory-wide. The City of Whitehorse is pleased to support the implementation of these key recommendations and is looking forward to helping all our citizens take action and responsibility for waste.
City of Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis
Changing the way in which we deal with solid waste takes time, but we must persevere to achieve a system that works in Yukon, as the cost of solid waste and recycling to our governments continues to rise. AYC is encouraged to see the recommendations moving forward, through the efforts of Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste.
President of the Association of Yukon Communities Tara Wheeler
Tipping fees will be introduced through a phased approach starting with landfills in the Whitehorse area by the end March 2020. Tipping fees will be based on fees at the nearest municipality.
Funds collected through tipping fees will help offset the costs of running a landfill or transfer station and staffing the site.
Fines for illegal dumping will increase to up to $10,000. Currently, the fine for illegal dumping is up to $200.
Landfills will close at Braeburn, Silver City, Keno and Johnson’s Crossing if and when Regional Agreements are signed with the closest municipalities. Closure will help reduce the environmental footprint of waste and keep costs of waste management reasonable.
Regional landfills are commonly used in other jurisdictions and prevent municipal taxpayers from being overburdened with the cost of managing waste from unincorporated areas.
Solid waste management costs the territorial and municipal governments about $11 million each year. Waste management costs have increased dramatically over the last 10 years.
The Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste consists of representatives from the Association of Yukon Communities, Yukon municipalities, and the Government of Yukon.
The Ministerial Committee on Solid Waste has been meeting regularly since 2017 and produced a report with recommendations in April 2018.
Communications, Community Services
Communications, City of Whitehorse
President, Association of Yukon Communities