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The entrance sign to the Crane Mountain landfill in Saint John. Image: Facebook/Fundy Regional Service Commission

Crane Mountain landfill could be expanding

By Brad Perry Jan 15, 2024 | 6:22 AM

Officials who operate the Crane Mountain landfill in Saint John are exploring the idea of expanding upwards.

The Fundy Regional Service Commission has proposed doubling the height of the landfill from 27.5 metres to 55 metres.

“We’re looking to make the landfill higher in order to store more garbage and get more life out of the current landfill,” Marc MacLeod, general manager of the commission, said in an interview.

MacLeod said the expansion would increase the landfill lifespan by at least 22 years, from 2048 to 2070, with no additional increase in its footprint.

It would also save taxpayers about $22 million over the extended life of the landfill by not having to build additional containment cells, he noted.

The proposal is currently going through the environmental impact assessment process with the provincial Department of Environment.

As part of that process, the commission will hold a public information session at St. Matthew’s Worship Site (45 Dollard Drive) on Thursday night.

It will include an open house at 6 p.m., a presentation at 7 p.m., and a question and answer session from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m.

MacLeod said the questions and answers will be forwarded to the province and will be part of the final report submitted to the environment minister.

“We’ve had a lot of comments — some in support but generally a lot not in support, especially from the local community, which would be typical for a landfill,” he said.

“The biggest concerns we’ve had forwarded to us have been more on the visual aspects of it, but by far the largest have been around odour.”

Logically, said MacLeod, more garbage at the site would mean more odour noticed by area residents, which is something the commission is working to mitigate.

Crane Mountain has a series of gas collection wells to funnel landfill gas to a generator to produce electricity, eliminating odours and decreasing environmental impact.

But MacLeod said they had some challenges over the past couple of years due to equipment failures and supply chain issues.

The system has been back up and running since early November and the manager said they have seen a huge improvement in odour complaints.

Prior to those recent issues, MacLeod said they had no complaints from the community about odour issues.

Editor’s note: The public information session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 16, but has since been moved to Thursday, Jan. 18, due to inclement weather in the forecast.