Top News

Valley Waste municipal partners suing Annapolis County

Annapolis County says it has expropriated Valley Waste's transfer station in Lawrencetown after Valley Waste refused use of the station. While Valley Waste is collecting green bins in Annapolis County, the municipality is handing out biodegradable plastic bags for compost as a temporary measure until the county's own green bins arrive.
File photo of the western transfer station in Lawrencetown.
KENTVILLE, N.S. —

The six Annapolis Valley municipal units sticking with Valley Waste are taking the County of Annapolis to court.

The Notice of Action addressed to the Municipality of the County of Annapolis, the defendant, is dated for Aug. 15.

It lists the Municipality of the County of Kings, Town of Annapolis Royal, Town of Berwick, Town of Kentville, Town of Middleton and Town of Wolfville as plaintiffs in the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia matter.

Peter Muttart, mayor of Kings County and a spokesperson for the plaintiffs, acknowledged that the situation is less than ideal.

“I consider that this whole affair is unnecessary and regrettable, but there must be an end to it. When all good-faith efforts have failed, then, while completely undesirable, legal action is the only option remaining,” Muttart wrote in an email to Kings County News.

It didn’t have to get to this point, Muttart stressed.

“On Aug. 3…  the Minister of Municipal Affairs offered the parties a very efficient and inexpensive opportunity to resolve their dispute through a process of compulsory arbitration funded in part by that department. Arbitration would take less than six months and have minimal cost. It would provide a solution and respect the positions of the parties,” he said.

“Legal action, on the other hand, will take at least two years, cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and reflect badly on all parties.”

Muttart said the plaintiffs were on board with compulsory arbitration, but the County of Annapolis refused.

“Firstly, well-intended municipal partners should not have conflicts with one another,” he said.

“Nevertheless, if misunderstandings develop such that conflict does arise, compulsory arbitration is as far as a dispute between reasonable people should ever go. It is a fair process that provides a solution without unnecessary cost, grief and embarrassment to their citizens.”

The issues revolve around Annapolis County becoming a “departing co-owner” from the Inter-Municipal Services Agreement (IMSA) that serves as the incorporating document for the Valley Region Solid Waste-Resource Management Authority, Muttart said.

Annapolis County had a 21 per cent ownership in Valley Waste, and county officials served notice to withdraw from the IMSA in April 2018.

“When a party departs under the agreement, it remains liable for a number of ongoing costs and is not entitled to remove any assets at the time of departure,” said Muttart.

The plaintiffs are alleging that the County of Annapolis did not honour contractual obligations outlined in the IMSA.

The Notice of Action states that “the plaintiffs claim damages for breach of contract, including but not limited to claims for losses incurred or increased expenses suffered by the plaintiffs, including losses or increased expenses under third party contracts, and losses resulting from the defendant’s withdrawal from the IMSA.”

The plaintiffs are also asking for a declaration stating that the County of Annapolis withdrawing from the IMSA means “the defendant has surrendered any interest in the assets created or acquired by the authority.”

John Ferguson, chief administrative officer for the County of Annapolis, declined an interview request regarding the matter.

“I am (away) from my office until Monday,” he said via email Aug. 21.

“I have not received a claim and, therefore, will not comment.”

Timothy Habinski, Annapolis County’s warden, did not respond to an interview request.

Municipal Affairs Minister Chuck Porter said it would be inappropriate for him to weigh in on the ongoing dispute while the matter is before the courts.

“We’ve done what we could along the way to try to offer them the arbitration but, at this point, we can’t comment any further,” Porter said.

This is not the first time the parties will meet in court regarding Valley Waste-related disputes. In November 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that the County of Annapolis did not have the authority to expropriate Valley Waste’s transfer station in Lawrencetown.

Shortly after the decision was released, the County of Annapolis said it would be appealing.

SUPREME COURT: ANNAPOLIS COUNTY DID NOT HAVE AUTHORITY TO EXPROPRIATE

VALLEY WASTE, COUNTY OF ANNAPOLIS MEET IN COURT TO TALK EXPROPRIATION

FUTURE IMPACT OF ANNAPOLIS COUNTY WITHDRAWING FROM VALLEY WASTE UNCLEAR

ANNAPOLIS COUNTY CAO RESPONDS TO NON-PAYMENT CLAIMS REGARDING VALLEY WASTE-RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

VALLEY WASTE VOWS TO HALT CURBSIDE SERVICES IN ANNAPOLIS COUNTY AUG. 18

ANNAPOLIS COUNTY EXPROPRIATES VALLEY WASTE’S LAWRENCETOWN TRANSFER STATION

Recent Stories