Misty Afdahl is pictured at the MD of Pincher Creek garbage drop-off bins along Herron Avenue, a site that will be expanded to include recycling and a compost bin along with existing disposal services. Garbage containers near the MD office were for use by residents of the municipality only, while the new facility will be open to town residents as well. Photo by Gillian Francis.Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published 10:41 May 25, 2022

By Sean Oliver, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Sidelined last year, work for the new recycling and composting site in Pincher Creek has now begun.

The MD and the town announced last spring they would be partnering with the Crowsnest/Pincher Creek Landfill to offer their residents recycling and disposal services. The MD began building the new facility near its offices in Pincher Creek about two weeks ago; when finished, it will be fully enclosed and manned by an employee from the landfill. 

On top of accepting cardboard, plastic, tin and paper, the ecostation will be the new home for the town’s compost bin. Large furniture, appliances, metal and electronics will also be accepted.

“This is a far superior service to what we ever had before, and by having it manned there’s less chance of people dumping at our site,” said CAO Troy MacCulloch during the MD’s May 10 committee meeting.

“That was such an eyesore, and we don’t want to go back to that.”

Though optimistic the site will be operational this June, MacCulloch said the MD was working through a recently discovered hiccup.

“It turns out this used to be the diesel storage site for the old public works, and we have contamination six to seven feet below the ground,” he said.

Samples from the site were expedited to Lethbridge in order to determine the nature of the contamination and proper remediation procedures. Test results showed the diesel concentration was above the regulated limit, so MD crews excavated the area to remove the remaining fuel.

Despite the setback, the project is still slated to come within the $250,000 set aside in the 2022 budget for the ecostation.

When finished, the ecostation will sit on a large concrete pad and will measure about 60 metres by 35 metres. The location will be completely fenced with slats to protect from the wind, with seven to eight bins on-site. Access will be offered free of charge.

Negotiations are underway as to how operational costs for the ecostation will be split  between the MD and the town, with the MD aiming for expenses to be shared equally.

“The majority of our residents live in Lundbreck, over by Cowley, Beaver Mines and Castle Mountain and the Burmis corridor,” MacCulloch said. “That’s where our densities are. They’re not going to come to this site, they’re going to go to the landfill directly. So who’s using this site? It’s town people and those east and south of here. Let’s go at it 50-50.”

It is not anticipated that people using the site will have to offer proof of residence, though MacCulloch added it would be good to see just how many users are coming from outside the two municipalities.

“If they’re outside the town or the MD, I think for the first little while it would be nice to be asking that question so that as a council and administration we have an idea of the people that may be coming and using this site from outside our two municipalities, and then take it back to you guys to decide on what you want,” he said.

Construction is expected to finish by the week of June 20, though progress will be weather dependent.

This item reprinted with permission from Shootin’ the Breeze, Pincher Creek, Alberta