Landfill operator outside Winnipeg to pause operations at request from province

The owners of the Prairie Green Landfill site have agreed to stop receiving garbage trucks at the request of the City of Winnipeg – and the province of Manitoba.

Late Thursday afternoon, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson joined Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham at City Hall to announce the move.

“It’s very important that for right now, we take this pause and get this right,” said Stefanson.

Police believe the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, two alleged victims of Jeremy Skibicki, 35, are at the site.

Winnipeg police investigators told reporters this week that they are concerned about possible asbestos deposits at Prairie Green, and feel the compacted debris, including tonnes of animal remains at the site, would be too difficult for officers to conduct a search.

“Is it impossible? Nothing’s impossible. But is it likely that even if remains were found, that they would be discernible from animal remains – it’s a tough question,” Inspector Cam McKid explained on Tuesday.

“This is certainly beyond the scope of something we thought was feasible.”

But the outcry from that decision has made it all the way to Ottawa where federal officials and family members have questioned the move.

On Wednesday, the daughters of Harris made impassioned pleas for help to find their mother.

“I’m absolutely heartbroken and utterly shocked at what is happening to our people,” said Cambria Harris. “The police say they can’t search because it’s not feasible – is human life not feasible? My mother didn’t pass away with a home so let’s pay her the respect that she deserves by finally giving her one that’s not a resting place at the Prairie Green landfill.”

Neither Stefanson, nor Gillingham would speculate on what comes next.

“There is a general agreement that we have to do something together,” said the mayor.

Gillingham, who sits on the police board, didn’t share his opinion on whether Winnipeg’s police chief should resign.

Skibicki is facing four charges of first-degree murder in the killings of Harris, Myran, Buffalo woman, and Rebecca Contois – whose partial remains were found both in a garbage bin in the city, and at the city’s landfill site.