Workers at the Terrace landfill spent the last week readying to close down the facility which had its last operating day Oct. 31.
The closure is part of a wholesale shift in how the City of Terrace, Thornhill and the Kitimat-Stikine regional district’s rural area surrounding Terrace and south past Lakelse Lake.
Oct. 31 was also the last day to be greeted by site attendant Mary-Lou Starrett, who welcomed people there for about a year and a half with a smile and a treat for the dogs who came along with their people for the ride.
She enjoyed her job and the chance to answer questions and talk to people, including those who even last week were still surprised to learn that the landfill was closing.
Late last week, Starrett and her co-workers were busy getting things ready for the closure.
Those tasks included burning the wood pallets and pieces, shipping tires out for recycling down south and capping the landfill area at the bottom of the hill – capping meaning covering up any garbage that’s still exposed.
Every morning she would drive around before the landfill opened to make sure that everything was okay and to check on the electric fence that’s been used for years to keep the bears from coming on the site and helping themselves to the garbage smorgasbord.
When it was windy, loose garbage would land on the electric fence and needed to be cleaned off.
And the grass was regularly weed whacked to keep it from touching the electric wires.
Starrett enjoyed explaining things to people, saying it helps them out and helps her too. If you can explain to people why things work the way they do, then they understand and are more willing to help and listen to you, she said, adding that people appreciate explanations.
Empowering people with what they need to know is what she likes to do.
For example, if people bring recyclables to the dump, she would let them know the proper place where to take the items, such as letting people know that fluorescent light bulbs are only collected for recycling by Do Your Part and that the Terrace Bottle Depot takes plug in appliances.
Tires can be recycled by taking them to Kal Tire, who will take them with or without rims and if the person wants the rim back, they will be billed for the rim removal, but leaving the tire and rim is free.
Kalum Tire will take tires without rims but charges for them because they have to stockpile them, she said.
Starrett says she doesn’t want to see fridges and freezers dumped on the side of the road and that salvage places like Allans and Bold Salvage will take them – Allans has requested that people take their fridges to Webb Refrigeration first to make sure the freon is taken out and have a stamp put on it to indicate that. Then Allans will take it.
As for the popular swap shed at the landfill, the contractors built it and took it home. Swap sheds are really needed in the region as people would come from as far away as Smithers to check it out, she said.
Starrett applied for a job at the new waste facility but wasn’t one of the hires.