NP officials opposed to Pawtucket transfer station

NP officials opposed to Pawtucket transfer station

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Town officials are jumping into the fray on a proposal for a controversial new waste transfer station in Pawtucket, saying the facility will have a negative impact on North Providence residents if developed.

Town Councilor Raymond DeStefanis was set to propose a resolution opposing the Pawtucket transfer station at a meeting Tuesday evening, Dec. 5. In attempting to fix its trash problem, said DeStefanis, Pawtucket is placing a burden on its neighboring communities.

“I think Pawtucket’s just pushing their trash problems into that area, which is going to create a problem for Providence residents and North Providence residents,” he said.

DeStefanis told The Breeze prior to Tuesday’s meeting that he anticipated full support for his resolution. He said he’s attended several meetings on the issue organized by neighbors in Pawtucket and Providence, including at Chelo’s on the Providence/Pawtucket line.

Mayor Charles Lombardi noted that while the new transfer station at 55 Concord St. would be about three-quarters of a mile from North Providence, “no one wants to have that near them.”

DeStefanis, of Council District 2 bordering Providence and Pawtucket, said he liked the idea brought up in Providence to try to block the use of city roads if the transfer station proposal from Link Environmental does go through, and he said he would consider proposing a similar measure in North Providence.

He said he has a number of constituents in the area of Charles Street, particularly on Windmill Street, who are concerned about what they expect will be added truck traffic and diminished quality of life in their area.

He said he’s not buying assertions by representatives from Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien’s office that the smells from the transfer station will be contained because operations are moved inside of a large new facility.

“Trash stinks,” he said. “I just don’t know how they’re doing it.”

Grebien noted this week that the current waste transfer station at 240 Grotto Ave., Pawtucket, also up the road from North Providence, was originally a burning incinerator dating back to the 1960s.

“It’s important for our neighboring communities to understand that for the past several years, the city has been working with residents and businesses to come up with an alternative to our waste facility,” he said. “The current facility has environmental issues and directly abuts a dense residential area and an elementary school.”

Grebien said it’s also pivotal for Pawtucket officials to make sure residents and neighboring communities have all the facts as they weigh in with concerns.

“One of the compelling reasons for the relocation is to reduce the traffic from current patterns and off residential roads and have truck traffic coming directly off I-95 to the site, a much shorter distance away compared to the current site,” he said.

The city has engaged the Hassenfeld Institute for Public Leadership at Bryant University to ensure a transparent and informative process, said Grebien.

“They will engage the community to understand all options and the impact both from a quality of life and financial perspective,” he said. “As mayor of a city moving forward over the last several years yet struggling with inherited structural and operation issues like this transfer station, I’m committed to working with all stakeholders to do what is right for our community.”

DeStefanis said he envisions many garbage trucks heading to and from an expanded waste transfer facility using Mineral Spring Avenue and Charles Street before heading down Smithfield Road. He said there’s no doubt that the transfer station would have a negative impact on North Providence.