Impact of Brady Road landfill protest estimated at almost $1M in December

Winnipeg city councillors on the finance committee got a clearer picture on Monday of the costs from a protest that blocked access to the Brady Road landfill for weeks. 

The city now estimates the impacts in December added up to almost $1 million.

Last month, the finance committee called for a detailed breakdown of the costs when it approved $411,000 to cover the extra costs the city incurred during the protest, which demanded a search of landfill for remains of missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

Final costs for tipping fees at other landfills where the city was forced to take garbage came to $405,000 in December.

The city also paid $15,000 related to fees specifically for the disposal of glass, which the city normally stores at Brady for later reuse in road materials, water and waste director Tim Shanks told the committee.

Another $40,000 went toward miscellaneous costs, including extra security.

During the verbal report, Shanks said the city lost $454,000 in revenue while customers were unable to dump at the site. 

The total financial impact for 2022 adds up to $915,000, Shanks said.

“Lost revenue isn’t out-of-pocket cost, but it is part of the conversation here that we were asked to report back on,” he said.

Final report expected in April

The protest began with partial blockades on Dec. 11, 13 and 14. A more permanent encampment was set up on Dec. 18, and the landfill was fully shut down from then until Dec. 31. 

The facility didn’t reopen to the public until Jan. 6.

The report on Monday only included figures until the end of 2022.

Invoicing for tipping fees are counted at the end of the month, so city officials are still working on calculating the data,  Shanks said.

“We were still processing January invoices, we only got them one business week ago, so there’s a lag … in receiving and processing invoices,” Shanks said in an interview after speaking to the committee.

A final report on the full financial impacts is expected in April. 

Police found partial remains of Rebecca Contois in the Brady Road landfill in June last year, shortly after arresting Jeremy Skibicki, who now faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of four women.

The faces of three First Nations women are pictured side by side.
Winnipeg police have charged Jeremy Skibicki with first-degree murder in the deaths of (left to right) Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran and Rebecca Contois, as well as a fourth person, whom community members have named Buffalo Woman, because police do not know her identity at this time. (Submitted by Cambria Harris, Donna Bartlett and Darryl Contois)

The portion of the Brady Road facility where Contois’s remains were found has been closed to dumping ever since, according to the city.

Police believe the remains of two other women, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, ended up at the Prairie Green landfill outside of Winnipeg.

The identity and location of a fourth victim, whom the community has given the name Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe (Buffalo Woman), are not known. 

Coun. Janice Lukes had called on other levels of government to help cover the costs of the protest when the city asked for the report in January.

On Monday, finance committee chair Coun. Jeff Browaty said it would be “premature” to say whether or not the city would ask for that help. 

“That would be a discussion to still have, potentially,” Browaty said in an interview.