The District of Muskoka is running out of landfill space.
“To be blunt, we’re not doing very well. At our current rate, our landfill will be full by the year 2036,” Muskoka Lakes Mayor Phil Harding told his fellow councillors at their June 21 council meeting.
“To put this into perspective, my grandson will still, or just be graduating high school when this landfill is full,” added Harding who is chair of the District engineering and public works committee.
Currently, the District only has one landfill servicing all of Muskoka which is located in Bracebridge. All other waste disposal facilities, like the one at Stisted, operate as transfer stations. Waste from the District’s licensed transfer stations is delivered to the Bracebridge Rosewarne Landfill.
The Bracebridge Rosewarne Landfill expansion opened in 2016 with a 950,000-tonne capacity. At the time, it was noted that it could service Muskoka for 20 years, which could be expanded to 30 years through waste diversion programs.
In 2020 alone, 32,000 tonnes of waste went into the landfill.
The diversion of recyclables and organic materials is key to extending the life of the landfill, but Muskoka is not diverting enough, said Harding. “In Ontario, top-performing municipalities divert roughly 60 per cent or more of their household waste. In Muskoka, we’re tracking at roughly 35 per cent. So clearly, we’ve got a long ways to go.”
Harding said staff have made some strong and impactful recommendations but said the committee wanted 30 days to contemplate some of the actions being considered “and also let the public be aware of the actions that we are contemplating” before bringing forward recommendations for approval to council.
“As a spoiler alert, let me say we’re talking about reduced bag limits, expanded organics, and the possibility of clear bags are all being recommended to help the diversion rate.”
Don’t miss out on Doppler!
Sign up here to receive our email digest with links to our most recent stories.
Local news in your inbox three times per week!