80 litre limit ‘slipped through the cracks’

Despite one councillor’s admission there may have been “a few things that slipped through the cracks” when voting for new garbage limitations, there are no long term plans to change the restrictions.

Coun. Roy Grant said he, along with other councillors, has been fielding a number of concerns about curbside garbage collection, most revolving around the 80 litre limit.

Grant told council Tuesday night that when council passed a motion to restrict garbage pick-up to one can and increase recycling pick-up there may have been some uncertainty.

“I think there might have been a few things that slipped through the cracks when we set this up,” said Grant.

Although the weight restriction was mentioned in a city staff report, it did not appear in a news release informing the public about the changes that was issued by the city and printed in the

Mirror Dec.29.

Ron Neufeld, manger of city operations, pointed out there was no change to the weight restriction – 80 litres per can was always the limit – but the contractor was generous in taking away full 120 litre cans.

The only change came in the amount of cans that could be left out.

Coun. Andy Adams said he may have missed the 80 litre limit in the report that laid out what the new garbage and recycling program would look like and wondered if it was possible to change the maximum weight capacity.

“It may be best to adjust it for not only the interim but for the long term,” said Adams, who pointed out he’s noticed most people have garbage cans that hold 120 litres or more. “Right now close to 50 per cent of our residents will have to guess what 80 litres is and I don’t think that was our intention.”

He added that the 80 litre cans, which typically don’t have wheels, may be difficult for some residents to haul out to their curb.

The city is hoping that by introducing tougher restrictions, people will cut down on the amount of garbage they are producing by taking advantage of the new weekly recycling pick-up program and yard waste curbside pick-up that will be available weekly eight months of the year.

The city wants people to take a closer look at their garbage and realize there are other uses for their waste. Kitchen waste and organics, for example, will not be included in the yard waste pick-up but can be composted instead of going in the garbage.

“The bottom line is it’s the right thing to do by an environmental standard,” said Neufeld.

Coun. Claire Moglove pointed out that people can still put out two cans if they need to.

“I think it’s a little bit of a misrepresentation to say the limit has been changed to one can when really it’s more a change to a two-tiered pricing system. Everyone can put out two cans they just have to pay $2 for the second one,” said Moglove. “You aren’t restricted to one can. The more you put out, the more you pay.”

Neufeld said he understands large families will have a hard time keeping their garbage down and there are people with medical issues who produce large volumes of garbage and shouldn’t be penalized for it.

Neufeld said he will report back to council with suggestions for helping those who are deemed to have special or extenuating circumstances.

He added that after speaking with residents, the city has decided to extend the phase-in period until April 4. Up until that date, one can will be picked up but garbage can be up to 128 litres.

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