Cllr. Kerry Thomas

St James Parish Councillor, Kerry Thomas, has earned the ire of Regional Operations Manager at WPM Waste Management, Garnet Edmondson, who is demanding an apology from Thomas for “false accusations”.

There’s a history of Thomas complaining about the service of the NSWMA in his Mount Salem Division and at last December’s council meeting, he made remarks which have not gone down well with Edmondson, triggering a tersely worded letter which was read on his behalf at last week’s meeting.

Thomas was absent from the meeting when the letter was being read, so it was not debated, but his colleague, Councillor Charles Sinclair, noted that it was a damning report, to which Councillor Michael Troupe cynically said, “Impeach him.”

Mr. Edmondson’s letter accused Cllr. Thomas of making several allegations at the December meeting “that are not true.” One such allegation was that the agency had reallocated garbage skips originally intended for the Mt Salem Division, but this has been flatly denied by Mr. Edmondson.

He has drawn the mayor’s attention to his letter, “because any further allegations made by Councillor Thomas would indicate that he is malicious and intends on tarnishing the reputation of this government agency and by extension the sitting administration.”

Mr. Edmondson said at no point were skips ever allocated to the division that were otherwise reallocated to other divisions. He said the dumpsites within the division have been there for many decades and what WPM Waste Management has done in order to improve the area is to place two metal skips there to be utilized by residents.

He also noted that cleaning the dumpsite on Vernon’s Drive required a backhoe because at times, up to three truckloads of solid waste is deposited there and to have these removed daily would incur a cost of $682,000 per week, taking into consideration that a backhoe generally costs $7,500 per hour and hiring a truck is approximately $20,000 per trip.

PARTNERSHIP

Mr. Edmondson said “at no point has Mr. Thomas ever written to WPM Waste Management Limited indicating the need for a meeting to discuss that dumping ground or any other that is plaguing his division.” And, “at no point during the last four years has Mr. Thomas indicated his need for partnership. On numerous occasions we have illustrated to the St James Municipal Corporation and the Public Health and Sanitation Committee, our support for stakeholder partnership. Such partnerships are evident in Cambridge, Farm Heights, Norwood and Salt Spring to name a few.”

The Solid Waste executive stated, “I, Garnet Edmondson, Regional Operations Manager of WPM Waste Management Limited, finds it disheartening and disingenuous for a sitting councillor to make such malicious accusations of sabotage on a government entity that provides such an invaluable service.”

He outlined that the agency has been doing daily cleaning/collection, improved sweeping with the number of sweepers the area increased from two to seven, community meetings where Mr. Thomas was invited and chose not to be a part of, consistent bulky waste and derelict vehicle removal and house to house sensitization with the use of flyers and town criers regarding proper solid waste management

Mr. Edmondson said meetings have been held with Mr. Thomas and other councilors who have responded to an invitation for partnership while Cllr. Thomas has not.

“We find it imperative that Councillor Thomas make a public apology for his false accusations. After which we would like to extend another invitation to him to meet with us so that we can formulate strategies which will aid in improving the aesthetics of the community and by extension the division,” said Mr. Edmondson.

Clinton Pickering – Freelance Writer