By Lyndsie Kiebert
Bonner County has shortened hours of operation and set a date for the temporary closure of the 11 Mile waste collection site.
Director of Solid Waste Bob Howard said the closure, slated to begin Jan. 1, is due to the site’s location on U.S. Forest Service land and therefore lack of commercial power. Howard also cited “other safety issues.” For now, hours of operation at the site, located north of Priest River, have been trimmed to Friday through Monday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nearby dump sites Dickensheet and Prater Valley are likely to become the alternatives for those who regularly use the 11 Mile site. While the 11 Mile site collects only kitchen and other household waste, the Dickensheet and Prater Valley sites are full-service sites, Howard said.
Though improving the 11 mile site was explored, Howard said making those improvements on property not owned by the county did not make financial sense. Regardless, improvements need to be made, Howard said.
“The entire site needs to be upgraded to make it safer for employees,” he said.
Commissioner Dan McDonald noted that the concentration of waste collection sites near Priest River is unparalleled in other parts of the county. He said having to go to another nearby site once the 11 mile site is closed won’t be a “major inconvenience” for county residents. Still, Howard said research will be done — with the help of a consulting firm and advisory committee made up of residents — to find a feasible solution for the temporary closure of the 11 mile location.
“Hopefully, once we get our committee in place and our engineer chosen, and they do the study, we can actually base (a solution) on factual data that’s better than probably what we have right now,” said Commissioner Jeff Connolly. “Then we will make a decision based on that.”
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