Hundreds of concerned residents protest at meeting
St. Charles Parish council members voted against expanding a landfill in Killona at their July 2 meeting.
Before a packed house of concerned Killona residents, Councilman Desmond Hilaire canceled a townhall meeting scheduled for July 19 to discuss the topic, and instead asked the council to make a decision at the meeting Monday night.
“I would like to cancel the townhall meeting set for July 19 and I’m asking the council to vote now on whether or not to expand the landfill,” Hilaire said.
With council members Barry Minnich and Ganesier “Ram” Ramchandran absent, the vote passed unanimously- shutting the project down in St. Charles Parish.
Hilaire had first urged residents to wait until hearing the details on the proposal at the town hall meeting, but changed his mind once he was clear on what the community felt about the project.
“The people just don’t want it,” he said.
Killona Ventures LLC, which owns the landfill, had sought a special-use permit to double the size of the 70-acre site, which opened in 2001.
Because the company was required to apply for a special use permit to do the expansion, parish guidelines stipulate that the company had to have a public hearing, giving residents an opportunity to voice their opinion.
Wade Scott, owner of the landfill said that Killona residents were confused and thought they were present at the council meeting to vote against the landfill expansion that was applied for on a Highway 90.
“A lot of people thought they were voting against the landfill expansion on Hwy 90,” Scott told the Herald-Guide immediately following the meeting.
“There is no smell, at our landfill. We had only one smell complaint a couple of years ago.”
Scott said LA Dept. of Environmental Quality came out inspected and discovered the bad smell came from sugar cane being burned in a field nearby.
“All we can do is wait one more year by law before we can reintroduce the landfill expansion,” Scott said.
“This time around I went to each individual councilman to get some support for my project, but next time I will meet with the residents and explain exactly what we’re doing,” he said.
Scott said someone ran an informative campaign against him, by calling Killona residents and passing out flyers in the area.
“The bottom line is they lied about the hazards to the parish and to the environment and used the citizens as a tool to limit competition,” he said.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t get an opportunity to express our side to the community,” he continued.
“We weren’t changing anything in our permit, we’ve done the same thing for the last six years,” he said.
“We can’t receive garbage. We can only receive construction debris and demolition debris,” Scott told the Herald-Guide.
“We’ve been a good neighbor and an asset to the parish.”
Scott said they cleaned illegal dumping up in the Killona area, residents can use the landfill free of charge, St. Charles parish-owned vehicles, from the parish works departments use the site free of charge on a daily basis, and the remaining St. Charles Parish residents can dump construction debris at 50 percent of the gate rate.
The gate rate is currently $3.50 per cubic yard.
“All landfills that participated in the cleanup of Hurricane Katrina applied for and received an approval for an expansion due to the enormous amount of waste that was received and processed,” he said.
“We took a 10 year plan and made it a 20 year plan,” he continued.
“Now instead of being proactive, we have to be reactive.”
Scott said if another storm the size of Hurricane Katrina comes to the area, the parish will have to haul the debris elsewhere because he won’t be able to handle the increased amount without the expansion.