A “perfect storm” led to hour-long waits and about 200 cars being turned away from Russell Township’s Hazardous Waste Day on the weekend.

About 800 cars passed through the mu- nicipal garage on Route 400 for the free hazardous waste drop-off between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. Council staff heard reports of a queue almost three kilometres long at one point during the day, while about 47,000 litres of material was collected during the six hours of operation. The event had been postponed from its regular spring schedule due to the COVID-19 shut down earlier in the year, leading to greater demand for the service. Residents took to the municipality’s social media to express frustration at long wait times and at being turned away due to time constraints. Infrastructure services executive director Jonathan Bourgon told the council on Monday night that cars were already lined up for the event at 6:30 a.m. By 12:45 p.m., he had asked a bylaw officer to tell queued

La forte demande lors de la journée de collecte des déchets dangereux dans le Canton de Russell a entraîné de longues files d’attente il y a quelques semaines. —photo Stephen Jeffery

a pain to do this’, are just going to dump this in their garbage bags,” he said. “We’re growing, we have a lot more residents, and I think for the protection of the environment, it’s something that we really need to look at and see what we can do.” The council heard that the extra demand, delay from the regular spring time collection, and fewer parking spaces at the garage in order to provide safe distancing due to COVID had contributed to the long lines on the day. Mayor Pierre Leroux also suggested the pandemic had given residents the op- portunity to complete long-term clean-ups. “I think this was a unique year in that everybody had an opportunity to clean out their garage or their basement,” he said. “There were a lot of people doing major clean-ups.” Despite the demand, the council heard

another hazardous waste collection day was not likely in Russell before the end of the year. Drain-All, the company the municipality partnered with to deliver the service, was booked out for the rest of 2020. Each col- lection day cost about $30,000. Councillors suggested an awareness cam- paign informing the public about hardware stores and other locations that accepted paint and other materials throughout the year be distributed in order to lower queues at future events. Leroux also suggested partnerships with other municipalities could alleviate demand and lower the cost to the council for hazardous waste removal. “On Saturday it was a wonderful event, it was well attended, it was just the sheer amount of people that were coming in,” he said. “Hopefully moving forward, we can improve the service for our residents.”

motorists who would be waiting for at least another hour that the garage was at capacity. Collection could not continue beyond 2:00 p.m., he said, due to ministry requirements and the need to allocate clean-up time. “The last thing I wanted was for someone to spend two hours in a line up to be told at 2:00 we were closed and we’re not taking any material,” he said. Councillor Mike Tarnowski praised staff for their work processing the collection, but asked for the council to consider ways to prevent such long queues in the future, including multiple events each year. He feared any obstacles preventing residents from accessing the drop-off could lead to unsafe dumping of materials. “I’m really concerned that many residents that end up saying, ‘ah, it’s too much of

EN BREF • BRIEFS ULTRASOUND PURCHASE A portable ultrasound device described as the “gold standard” for emergency medicine has arrived at Winchester District Memorial Hospital. The device would be used to help diagnose cardiac arrest, internal bleeding and pregnancy issues. It could also support treatment interventions such as draining fluid from the abdomen or inserting chest tubes. Donations to the hospital foundation’s general equipment fund paid for the $71,074 device. – Stephen Jeffery

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