Residents threaten to file stop order over medical waste plan
Frustrated St David’s residents said they hoped to file a stop order to halt a proposed medical waste incineration facility being built in Southside.
However, attendees at a town hall meeting last night at Clearwater Middle School said they were also willing to launch a protest if their voices were not heard.
One attendee said: “The fishermen are upset right now. The farmers are upset and we are upset. We might have to take it to the next level.
“We might have to march on Parliament like we did when they tried to close the Lamb-Foggo clinic.”
The meeting was called after the Ministry of Home Affairs indicated that approval from the Department of Planning for the facility to be built on industrially zoned land in Southside would not be reversed.
Organisers said the meeting was held to “seek clarity from government officials” on several issues.
People at the meeting questioned why MediWaste’s sole-sourced contract for ten years with the Bermuda Hospitals Board had not been subject to a request for proposal and claimed the move could drive up the island’s medical and insurance costs.
While the plant has not been constructed, the group said medical waste had been stored in shipping containers at Carter’s Bay Road since February.
Terlena Murphy, a spokeswoman for the pressure group Concerned Citizens of St David’s, said she had been unable to confirm what policies are in place to regulate the handling of medical waste on the island.
However, she said British regulations suggested that offensive waste types could be stored for “up to seven days if outside, or for up to 14 days if stored in a building”.
Ms Murphy told dozens of attendees at the meeting that both Walter Roban, the Minister of Home Affairs, and Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, had declined an invitation to attend the meeting.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant-Colonel David Burch, the Minister of Public Works, had accepted the invitation but had to cancel due to personal circumstances.
However, Ms Murphy said that five East End MPs had attended a previous meeting and had indicated that they did not know about the plans for the incinerator until after the concerns had been raised.
Many attendees voiced their concerns about the project, saying there had been a lack of consultation with residents and no independent environmental assessment of the proposal.
Albert Fox, another member of the group, told attendees that he had been in communication with a group who suggested that as part of refurbishment work at the Tynes Bay Waste-to-Energy Facility, it might be possible to make the facility suitable for the destruction of medical waste.
Throughout the meeting residents complained that the project had been “rammed down their throats” and that St David’s had become a dumping ground for projects not wanted elsewhere.
Another meeting is scheduled to be held at Clearwater Middle School on December 1, and the group said that soon after the meeting they hoped to deliver a petition to David Burt, the Premier.