Founders Corner, yet another condo development going into downtown Dartmouth, sells itself as being “Smart & Green,” and the developer of the project, Nova New England of Dartmouth, uses its website to celebrate an efficient heating and hot water system. But while saving on heating bills certainly makes good business sense, the building doesn’t strike me as being particularly cutting-edge on the eco front. Its website makes no mention of passive solar, heat pumps, waste heat recovery or any of the other energy strategies that we should expect in new “green” buildings.

Practices used in its construction cast still more doubts on Founders Corner’s “green” claim. As an older building at the site was demolished and carted away, the waste hauler, Marinus Verhagen Enterprises of New Glasgow, violated Halifax’s construction waste bylaw. The bylaw requires that all construction waste be processed through an approved facility within the HRM, insuring that 75 percent of all local construction waste is recycled.

Verhagen had been found in violation of the bylaw once before, says Jim Bauld, the city’s solid waste manager, so officials were watching the firm carefully. Sure enough, a bylaw enforcement officer followed a Verhagen tandem truck as it hauled waste from Founders Corner to the HRM line, evidently on its way to an unapproved landfill in New Glasgow. Charged with violation of the bylaw, Verhagen pleaded guilty and paid a $4,600 fine.

However, this is not just a case of an errant demolition hauler. “We warned Nova New England ahead of time,” says Bauld. “We told them we had concerns about this hauler, and we wanted them to make sure the waste was handled properly.”

So when the Verhagen truck crossed the county line, city officials charged not just Verhagen, but also Nova New England and five holding companies associated with DORA Demolition with violation of the bylaw. Unlike Verhagen, the other companies pleaded not guilty. The case goes to court in April.

A tandem truck the size of Verhagen’s will hold about 15 tonnes of waste. The single trip to New Glasgow, then, saved the company about $1,725 in tipping fees at HRM-approved recycling facilities. “I have no idea if they made more than one trip,” says Bauld. “But it looks like they can undercut the price of their competitors, even with the added fuel costs. That savings gets passed along to the developer.” Nova New England did not return a call for comment.

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