Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Westmoreland garbage transfer station in limbo

Published:Saturday | February 27, 2021 | 12:07 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer


Audley Gordon, the executive director at the National Solid Waste Management Authority, (NSWMA), says the proposed plan to establish a garbage transfer station in Frome, Westmoreland will have to be revisited as a result of unforeseen new developments.

“I think ultimately, though, if you look around at moving the garbage efficiently there will have to be a reopening of those discussions with regards to the transfer station in Westmoreland,” said Gordon.

That decision has come as a result of findings by the Public Investment Management Secretariat, the country’s clearing house on capital projects in the Ministry of Finance, coupled with a fact-finding visit to Florida which has seemingly rendered the initial plans of the NSWMA inadequate.

Eight years ago, the NSWMA announced that funds were identified for the construction of a garbage transfer station in Westmoreland but that plan did not get off the ground, which has left the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) fuming and asking questions after Trelawny was named as the parish for the first transfer station.

“I can’t speak fulsomely to what occurred when that was first mooted, but I have heard of the planned transfer station for that area (Westmoreland),” said Gordon, in reference to the initial plans for Westmoreland.

“I also have knowledge that there was a site chosen, but that was years before I got here and I am not aware as to what would have caused the abortion or delay,” Gordon told The Gleaner.

A garbage transfer station is a facility that stores waste temporarily before it is moved to the main landfill.

But, in seeking to appease the local lawmakers in Westmoreland, Gordon whose tenure at the NSWMA commenced in 2016, says he could not speak to the actual transfer station proposal for Westmoreland as he did not see that on the books when he took over as executive director.

“I am very optimistic that, in order to make the NSWMA more effective, you could very well see a transfer station in Westmoreland,” said Gordon. “Ideally, it is needed on that side, too, because when I load a truck in Westmoreland, it has to travel 50 miles in a lot of traffic to come to Retirement (landfill) in St James. That’s not the most efficient way to move your garbage, so it really needs a transfer station in Westmoreland.”

Savanna-la-Mar’s Mayor Bertel Moore says the idea of a transfer station was first mooted at the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation (WMC) by way of a resolution. He said that the money to secure a tractor head was to be taken from the equalisation fund.

“I don’t know if it was done. We didn’t get any information but the land is available because we organised and secured the land in Frome, but we didn’t do any work there,” explained Moore.

The NSWMA says it is seeking to construct four new garbage-transfer stations in the parishes of Westmoreland, Trelawny, Clarendon, and Portland, which will serve as areas where garbage-disposal trucks can deposit solid waste prior to loading on to larger vehicles for transportation to disposal sites.