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'A terrible spot': Area farmers concerned over proposed location for new Moose Jaw city landfill

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A group of Moose Jaw area farmers are concerned over the proposed location of the city’s new landfill.

Moose Jaw’s current landfill, east of the city, is over 100 years old and nearing the end of its useful life. The city also says the facility would need upgrades to meet some modern regulations.

“It’s a chance for the city to part ways with our 100-year old landfill,” said city manager Maryse Carmichael. “It’s a sizeable project to be able to use new technology.”

(Source: City of Moose Jaw)

The proposed site for a new landfill is about a one kilometre northwest of the city.

Gordon Knox’s farmland is kitty-corner to the location.

“[The area] is prime agriculture land,” he said. “We love our land. We love farming around it.”

Knox and a group of other farmers have many concerns.

Wilda Soper and her family lived and farmed in the area for over 100 years.

Her yard is about 550 meters from the proposed site.

“This site eliminates the possibility of our son or future generations from building a home on our century farm,” she said. “That could not happen [with this proposal].”

Wilda’s son, Cal and his family live in a north-Moose Jaw neighbourhood but farms the land adjacent to the proposed landfill location.

“We were planning on building a house out there,” he said. “But the biggest impact is on our farm.”

“We’re not just here making this argument for ourselves,” Knox said. “We’re making it for the next five or six generations.”

Farmer concerns

The farmers believe the proposed site could have several impacts on city residents.

“We think it’s an inappropriate place to build a new city dump,” said Knox. “Building a landfill on the northside of Moose Jaw isn’t just bad for the landowners.”

One of the biggest concerns hinged on the weather.

“Prevailing winds are from northwest to southeast,” Knox explained. “That means garbage, smoke and fumes drifting into the city.”

According to the city’s draft plans, the main access road to the landfill would be from Highway 2.

(Source: City of Moose Jaw)

The Sopers say the road is already very busy and the additional heavy-machine traffic could pose safety risks.

“There are five to seven school buses daily,” Wilda said. “[The highway] is also the main access to the north [Buffalo Pound Lake] parkland.”

Cal said his farming operations may also be impacted. Often he uses an airplane to spray herbicides, pesticides or fertilizer.

“[The company] has stated they will not spray if there are seagulls in the area,” he added. “That can cut down on our yield.”

Possible solution

The city cannot build to the south due to restrictions of RCAF base 15-Wing Moose Jaw.

The farmers feel the city’s current landfill could be expanded.

“Why not keep it at the original site?” asked Knox.

The city says the costs to upgrade the new facility would not help the city in the long run.

“If there was room to expand, the expenses compared to the longevity it would give us is not a good investment,” said Carmichael.

Next steps

City administration has submitted a discretionary use application to the RM of Moose Jaw.

The final sale of the land hinges on the approval of the application.

Carmichael says a public open house information night is planned for Feb. 22.

“It is a change for landowners in the area,” she noted. “But [that night] is for bringing forward concerns.”

Carmichael added more public consultation and environmental assessments are planned after the discretionary use application is approved.

Facility design and total budget will also be finalized following that process.

The city will also apply for permits before starting construction on the new site.

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