By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

Hambro was pulled off the map yesterday as the preferred location to house Del Norte Countys future transfer station.

After months of debate and speculation about Hambro Forest Products being a preordained site for the transfer station, it was removed from the running at yesterdays meeting of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority because of a lack of acreage. But its still the top contender for operating the transfer station regardless of location.

The preferred site has now returned to the countys existing landfill. Boardmembers Jack Reese, C. Ray Smith, Clyde Eller and Randy Hatfield voted for the motion. Board member Mickey Youngblood opposed it.

The decision was made because studies showed Hambro didnt have the minimum amount of acreage needed, Reese said. But the final decision will be after the public hearings are held in October.

A third site, north of Hambro on Elk Valley Road, remains an option.

A draft environmental impact report for the preferred site will be available to the public for review next week, according to Hendrick. Copies may be reviewed at the Authoritys office at 391 Front Street.

The transfer station will eventually replace the county landfill when it reaches capacity and is closed, which is scheduled to take place in 2003. At that time, the transfer station will process the countys garbage before it is trucked to landfills outside of Del Norte County

After Hambro proposed a portion of its real estate holdings for the site, an environmental impact report showed that only 3.3 acres of the 11-acre parcel could be used for the transfer station.

Reese said no specific date has been set yet for public hearings about the preferred site, but comments are already coming in.

I think this is totally inappropriate, said Sue Calla, a resident of the current landfill area near the end of Old Mill Road. It doesnt make any sense for them to plan for the future having a transfer station in this area.

Calla said in the decades since the landfill opened, the area has become more residential, with schoolchildren and garbage trucks sharing the same narrow access road, and with state park land now surrounding the landfill.

Over many months and years, we (residents in the area) have been opposed to this, Calla said. Weve submitted signatures that this is no longer an alternative.

Reese said the subject of where the transfer station will ultimately be placed is a lose-lose situation in any case.

It really doesnt make any difference where we site this, theres going to be some unhappy people, said Reese.

Authority Director Kevin Hendrick said although Hambro was removed as the preferred site, it is still a long-shot possibility if the other sites fall through.

Things always come up, and you just have to adapt, and you dont want to be eliminating your options, Hendrick said. This is an evolving process and an interactive process which is the point we are getting to right now.

Hambro is still the only viable contender when it comes to operating the station, according to Hendrick. Eller began preliminary negotiations with the companys General Manager Dwayne Reichlin yesterday on the details of the contract.

They have a good team, Hendrick said about Hambro/WSG, a division of Hambro that proposed to operate the station. Hambro is a local operator with a good track record of being efficient and innovative. And their partnership with Waste Solutions Group gives them the right level of expertise.

It also gives them an exclusive contract to dump garbage at the nearest landfill.