The Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free have condemned as a “sham” the environmental impact statement released on the proposed dump this week.
The group said the environmental assessment, carried out by Cardno ENTRIX and paid for by Dart, “whitewashes the proponent’s planned landfill for Bodden Town”.
With the main document of 336 and additional related sections of the report covering 1,551 pages, the group says the environmental statement is “impossible for any normal person to digest”.
Coalition chairman Alain Beiner said the size of the document ensures “that salient points and omissions are well camouflaged. However, there’s no hiding the fact that the Dart Group’s so-called ‘Phase I’, the subject of the EIA [Environmental Impact Assessment], is nothing more than a clone of what we have in George Town, just another dump, with a ‘lined’ pit on which the island’s trash will be dumped, piled up, and left to build ‘Mount Trashmore East.”
The group pointed out that the issue of intermittent odour from the dump as well as the impact on traffic and noise in Bodden Town related to the site had been “glossed over with assurances that they will be “mitigated” by “recommended operational procedures”.
In a news release from the coalition on Wednesday, the group said the consultants who carried out the report had failed to state that the dump would not be operated by Dart, but by the Department of Environmental Health “which has mismanaged the GT dump for 20 years – with even less of a budget now to do it properly”.
The coalition said that truck traffic through Bodden Town was already at “a critical and dangerous level” and that the environmental impact report only makes “vague references” to the extension of the East-West Arterial and to proposed improvements to Anton Bodden Drive.
“But in both cases the report admits that ‘no timeline exists for these road improvements’,” Mr. Beiner said.
He added: “As well, substantial sections of the text allude to a future waste-to-energy facility at the dump site, for which no timeline or funds are on the horizon. In fact, we were led to believe that government’s lack of funds for such a facility at the present [George Town] landfill is why the dump has to be moved.”
Another coalition member, Charles Clifford, said moving the dump to Bodden Town, away from the island’s main population and business centres, could lead to a spike in illegal dumping and that this element, as well as the increased wear and tear on local roads and the extra mileage involved in transporting garbage to Bodden Town, was not addressed in the report.
Gregg Anderson, another Coalition to Keep Bodden Town Dump Free, said there had been no financial study to determine how much the project will cost the government nor information as to the expected lifetime of the proposed facility. “There is nothing mentioned about the economic and social impact on Midland Acres in particular and on the Bodden Town district in general – the certain loss in real estate and land value, the loss of new businesses, tourism facilities, new residential developments, etc. The Midland Acres community would risk the stigma of being labelled a stagnant slum of low-cost housing and social ‘outcasts’.”
He asked: “How can the government sustain the project, let alone add another cell and enhance the proposed dump with the empty promise of waste-to-energy capabilities? In fact, it’s highly unlikely that a government which is not allowed to borrow money will have the financial resources to even operate a new dump properly.”
The government has released the draft environmental statement and is inviting comment from the public. Deadline for receipt of comments is Monday, 29 April. Open houses and presentations by Dart, Cardno ENTRIX and the Environmental Advisory Board about the study will be held in the Bodden Town Civic Centre on Wednesday, 17 April, and in Elmslie Memorial United Church in George Town on Thursday, 18 April.