I think council jumped the gun in decreeing that we homeowners will be taking our waste and recycling containers to the curb on different days, rather than the same day as is now the case, come November.
Council by a narrow 6-5 vote approved a staff recommendation which I see as based more on conjecture than fact.
In a report to council Susan Hamilton-Beach, Director of Public Works, said in some situations with the new automated waste collection system “space may be an issue, in particular in winter months with snow accumulation affecting the width of residents’ driveways
“In other cases, where driveways do not exist, snowbanks must be kept clear for the space required in the area where the cart is to be put out for collection. The curbside multi-family sector may also be challenged with more than one waste cart being placed at the curb in addition to recycling cart(s).”
She said in checking with many other municipalities, the solution to this problem is to delay
recycling collection by one day, thus, in the case of a single family residence only one (1)
cart will have to be placed at the curb each day.
I think the key word here is “may”.
Hamilton-Beach says, “Space may be an issue, in particular in winter months with snow accumulation affecting the width of residents’ driveways”.
I believe that rather than acting because there might be an issue, that it would have been better to actually know whether or not there was going to be a problem. Go into the winter with the system that is in place to see if there is indeed a problem, rather than just assuming there is going to be.
Also, Hamilton-Beach told council there is no cookie cutter model to developing solutions for these problems. Each community has its own way to do it.
I would have appreciated getting the names of some of the cities who had already faced this problem, as I am sure the councillors who were against the proposal would have too, with some comments on how things actually unfolded.
And if there are a variety of ways other communities have handled the problem, why was council presented with only one?
In regard to the space factor, surely it would have been better left to residents to work out, since most people don’t need to put out both waste and recycling containers each week.
In the winter especially, with the large size of the new waste container, unless a very large family is involved there probably is little need for the container to go out weekly, considering the waste will be frozen.
Also, in regard to the large recycling containers, there should be little need to put these out weekly.
What I am suggesting here, and what I would think most residents would come to on their own, is that there should be no need to put out both containers on the same day in the winter.
In the summer, of course, there should be no problem with space as boulevards can be used.
There are no additional costs to the city for the change, only inconvenience to the homeowner and possibly to those who haul out the trash for homeowners who cannot do it on their own.
Some councillors were afraid that now some residents won’t concentrate on recycling, choosing to put recyclables into their waste bins.
Ward 4 Coun. Marchy Bruni said he believed residents will opt out of recycling because they don’t want to travel to the curbside with the bins two days a week.
I would hope we are above that. Although we may not like this system and believe it is unnecessary, I would hope that it would not affect our recycling efforts, as tempting as that may be.
Hamilton-Beach also brought up a safety issue, saying that if staff is required to exit the vehicle to place a cart on a flat surface, that creates a safety issue for the driver.
Yet a couple of weeks back on my street the driver got out of his truck to look in each waste container, then in some cases lifted the garbage bag out by hand and in others simply used his machine to empty the bin.
Actually for two weeks at my place the driver lifted out one bag by hand, leaving two bags containing old potatoes on the bottom, plus one plastic container that was not recyclable.
I asked if there were some rules regarding garbage pickup I was missing as this was happening at many homes on my street.
I was told that in some cases I may see both the old and new system at work, random checks being made by the drivers to help ensure that contaminants are not placed in the recycling carts. Although bags within the garbage bins are not a requirement for cart pick-up,
I was told it is recommended from a sanitary perspective.
For the first four days of the week under the new system, recycling collection days will be one day later than waste collection days. For those who have waste collection on Friday, their new recycling collection day will be Monday.
I suppose there is nothing we can do about the new system at the moment but gripe.
And that, of course, is what I am doing here.