A new recycling plant is set to be up and running in South Boston in less than two years. Despite Celtic Recycling , the company proposing the plant, notifying citizens of the site, several residents are fighting the plans with claims they were not adequately informed about the project.
Celtic Recycling would renovate a cold storage building on Widett Circle next to Interstate 95. As per city law, it notified the community through at least four outlets, including South Boston Today in July, according to the developer, but Andrew Square Civic Association members said they were not notified in time, among other complaints last week.
“There seems to be a lot of miscommunication for our intent with the plant,” said Susie Chin, CEO, founder of Celtic Recycling and a South Boston resident. “We would never turn our backs on the community. If they took time and gave it thought, they would see that this company could be very positive, very beneficial.”
The ASCA did not respond to emails for comment by press time.
The proposed plant would take over and renovate what is currently an Americold cold storage building at 100 Widett Circle. The plant would process up to 1,500 tons of waste from construction or demolition projects as well as some household items, according to the project’s Environmental Notification Form.
The proposal is currently undergoing a Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act review. There are other channels of approval before the project can start, but if cleared by MEPA, the plant could be fully operational by April 2015, according to the form.
Chin said the project met requirements that would make the review unnecessary.
“It’s not really a stumbling block for us,” she said. “We’re going green. We’re anti-pollution.”
City Councilor Brian Linehan, who represents the district the plant would go in, first notified the ASCA of the proposal. Mark McGonagle, his chief of staff, said Linehan is in favor of the project as long as the developers do not cut any corners.
“We’re going to hold them [Celtic] accountable to do all the correct parts of the project,” he said. “On its face, it looks like a good project for several reasons, but the devil’s in the details, and we’re going to make sure it goes through the right community outlets.”
Jeff Payne, director of Earthworm, Inc., a company that gathers recycling materials from businesses for processing plants similar to what Celtic might be, said even if there is some initial community backlash, the project could do much more harm than good.
“If done properly, there are no drawbacks to this,” he said. “If it’s managed inefficiently or improperly, then that could obviously have a negative impact … but we’re never at 100 percent. There’s always more we can be doing to recycle.”
Several people who live near the proposed site said they did not approve of how the project has been managed so far.
Evelyn Harper, 54, a Dorchester resident, said she did not trust the outlined plans.
“It could definitely do good, but no,” she said. “I’m not for it because I don’t think it actually will. What they’re telling us are the plans, I think they’ll end up lying. I didn’t know it [was] happening, so they could lie very easily.”
Keith Berry, 36, a resident of Dorchester, who lives less than a mile from the proposed plant, said the problem was not the plant but public awareness.
“I support it, but half the battle is just getting the message out to people,” he said. “The lack of knowledge is a problem. With how they did it [the public notifications], I probably never would have found out.”