The recommendations follow a study launched in the wake of a death at the site two years ago.

Caitlin Jordan, a Cape Elizabeth town councilor, is the only elected official publicly urging voters to oppose a $1.4 million bond to upgrade the town’s transfer station, which will be on the local ballot June 14.

“I continue to oppose this expense. I do not believe the expenditure is warranted at this time,” Jordan told the Current this week.

A fatal accident at the transfer station, which killed the town’s former public works director, Herbert Dennison, in November 2014, led Cape to review both immediate and long-term safety changes and more efficient trash disposal at the facility.

That led to a 158-page report that was given to the council last summer, as well as a recommendation for a significant capital expense to make upgrades at the transfer station.

If the bond is approved, the major changes being recommended include installing drive forward-only lanes, which would have their own recycling and outdoor trash compactor stations; constructing a bypass lane to allow more convenient access to services such as the Swap Shop and Bottle Shed; and re-purposing the existing compactor building.

The five-person Solid Waste and Recycling Long Term Planning Committee, created the recommendations for the transfer station and said in its report that the ultimate goal is to “provide substantial safety and service improvements over the next 25 to 30 years.”

Jordan this week reiterated that in her view the changes at the transfer station are not needed.

“A new transfer station would be nice and lovely, so would a new car and a new house, but we don’t always get those things,” she said. “While there was a horrific incident that occurred it was avoidable (and) I do not believe such a vast amount of money needs to be spent on the (town) dump.

Molly MacAuslan, chairwoman of the Town Council, disagrees. She aid this week that the existing transfer station “is in need of extensive repairs and is poorly and inefficiently laid out.”

She said, “The Solid Waste and Recycling Committee performed an extensive review of the community’s needs and existing conditions and considered (a number of) options,” which led the majority of the Town Council to support upgrades at the transfer station.

MacAuslan said making improvements at the facility is far cheaper and more palatable to residents than moving toward curbside trash pickup, which was estimated to cost the town between $200,000 and $400,000 more on an annual basis and that wouldn’t allow for the drop-off of yard waste, bulky and hazardous waste or access to the Swap Shop.

Overall, MacAuslan said,  transfer station project would “offer significant safety and service improvements for decades to come. If approved by the voters there will be less congestion and easier access to the compacter units. (This) project balances cost, safety, levels of service and ease of use.”

With the exception of Caitlin Jordan, the Cape Elizabeth Town Council believes significant upgrades are needed at the town’s transfer station, which is the subject of a $1.4 million bond referendum next week.


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