by Tristan Turner
In a unanimous vote, Council has approved the 2016 Waste Bylaw, which sets rates and levels of service for trash, recyclables and organics pickup. The law saw no major increases or changes to rates but saw a great deal of debate on the issues of solid waste and organic pickup.
Bi-weekly garbage defeated
During the debate, Councillor Brennan Fitzgerald motioned an amendment to move to bi-weekly garbage pickup, arguing it would reduce the amount of waste diverted to landfills and would increase organics usage. While he accepted that the might be less convenient for some people, he said it would be a step in the right direction, and would provide some savings for residents.
Councillor Stephen Dafoe was not entirely against the idea of reducing solid waste pickup but cautioned against moving ahead right away.
“I’m all about reducing the amount of waste going to the landfill, but I would like to see a first step being more education and perhaps looking at going to weekly organics pickup throughout the year to start getting people to separate that [matrial],” he said. “Once we’ve had some success there, I would be all over doing your motion to do solid waste every two weeks.”
Mayor Holmes made it clear she did not support the reduction in trash pickup. “I supported your motion last time [to Councilor Fitzgerald], in order to get this information, but it was reported that I supported this, which I don’t … I don’t believe in it because I think we’re taking away the choice. And there’s so many people in Morinville that may require [weekly solid waste pickup], and I know that last time this got brought up, we were flooded by emails from young families that have children who can’t [have garbage pickup twice a month],” Holmes said, going on to advocate for a project to educate Morinvillians on waste diversion practices.
Councillor Fitzgerald responded to these and other Council comments saying: “I think that St. Albert seems to manage fine with this in place. It is a young community as well, and there are opportunities for residents to purchase another waste bin if it’s so needed. I think that people like their routine and they don’t like their routine to be disturbed, and I certainly appreciate the idea that education is needed, and I think it is. But I think it goes hand in hand with a little bit of disturbance to the routine. So whenever we bring this up, we’re always going to run into the same [concerns]… and it’s always going to be difficult. And one day, it just needs to be done. Now is a good a time as any.”
The motion was defeated 6-1 with the support of Councillor Fitzgerald.
Bi-weekly winter organics defeated
Councillor Stephen Dafoe made a motion to increase organics pick up to weekly during the winter months rather than monthly, but ultimately accepted a friendly motion to make it bi-weekly in the winter.
“I think the way to reduce the amount of waste that goes to the landfill is through the increased use of organics … and my personal belief is that not enough people are [using the organics bins] for meat and other food during the winter because it’s sitting there for a month.”
Councillor Boutestein spoke to her concerns about the feasibility of increased usage in the winter months. “The problem I have with it … is it’s such a big container. So in the winter when there’s snow in my driveway, and the snow is packed,” she said. “I’m not going to be hauling this massive container down my driveway that maybe has 10 banana peels in it. So if we could use a smaller container that would be helpful because now I put that thing on the side of my house, and I don’t touch it until May.”
The motion failed with Councillors Dafoe and FitzGerald supporting.
“So whenever we bring this up, we’re always going to run into the same [concerns]… and it’s always going to be difficult. And one day, it just needs to be done. Now is a good a time as any.”
Is it just me, or does this quote from Councillor FitzGerald, sound like councillor knows best?
Perhaps this position comes from walking around on garbage pickup days and seeing a large percentage of garbage bins empty or close to it.
We once, not to long ago, had unlimited garbage collection. Then we went to a four bag limit. Then we went to one container. Each time the garbage limit decreased.
When I walk around on garbage day, I see lots of containers that are over full.
Could we do better in diverting garbage from the dump………of course we can, and should.
But forcing it, without consultation or an education portion would be wrong.
Council got this one right.