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Restrictions eased temporarily after garbage backlash

The city is temporarily increasing the maximum garbage limit for curbside pick-up after receiving several complaints from the public.

As new garbage limits went into effect last week, calls from residents angry their garbage was either entirely or partly not picked up last week began to mount at City Hall.

“It’s kept us pretty busy,” said Jennifer Peters, the city’s utilities manager. “It’s been a fair number (of calls).”

Last week Peters said the city has no plans to change the new curbside garbage collection rules despite growing frustration from the public. But on Monday the city sent out a news release saying it has changed the new 80 litre garbage limit to 128 litres, in one can, until April 4. After that date, residents will be required to meet the city’s limit of 80 litres.

The new restrictions, which also limit residents to just one garbage can, took effect Jan.1. Previously the limit was 80 litres in two cans weekly. Under the new regulations, a second can may be used but a $2 tag must be purchased for the can from either City Hall, the Sportsplex or the Community Centre.

Unfortunately many residents were seemingly unaware of the change and Peters admits “a lot of garbage was left behind.”

Trever Wickens wrote in an e-mail to the Mirror that his family of six usually puts out two large garbage cans with wheels with two bags inside of each. Last week, knowing the city would only take one can, he adjusted his routine accordingly. When Wickens went to retrieve his one garbage can he noticed only one of two bags had been taken and there was a tag on his can saying he was over the limit.

Peters said the contractor only took one bag because Wickens was using a 120 litre can.

“The limit is 80 litres so if the contractor comes and sees the big cans are filled to the top he doesn’t actually have to take anything,” said Peters. “If you have a bigger can,we’re not asking you to go out and buy a new one. You can still use your old can. The contractor’s going to use his best judgement. If it’s obvious there’s less than 80 litres, he’ll take it, if there’s more than 80 litres he’ll leave it.”

Peters adds that anything you can do to help the contractor out is appreciated. She suggests buying 80 litre garbage bags or using a permanent marker to indicate the 80-litre mark inside your garbage can.

The new limits are supposed to help cut down on the amount of waste going into the landfill, which is nearing capacity.

“The point of this was to cut down and to encourage more recycling, with the new weekly recycling pick-up program, and composting. Most of the things that end up in the landfill don’t need to. We just want people to take a closer look at what’s going in their garbage,” said Peters. “We’re hearing that we’re hitting the families because they have more garbage but we’re trying to make it fair to those who do limit their garbage – why should they have to pay for everybody else?”

Kitchen waste, organics and yard waste will be picked up curbside this year, every week for eight months of the year and a new yard-waste drop off centre is in the works and should be opening soon, said Peters.

The city will work with families and other groups who have difficulty with the maximum weekly limit and may be given a “Special Circumstances” pass if required.

Coupon’s for a free tag for a second can are in today’s paper and will appear again in Friday’s paper in order to help people who had garbage left behind last week.

Anyone with questions about why their garbage was not picked up can call Emterra at 250-286-0211.

Those with questions about why the city has implemented the new restrictions can call City Hall at 250-286-5700.

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