Mayor weighs in on heavy garbage

No funds al­lo­cated, but an­nual pickup may still hap­pen

Cape Breton Post - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID JALA

Cape Breton Re­gional Mu­nic­i­pal­ity Mayor Ce­cil Clarke has left a win­dow of hope open for those in favour of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity go­ing ahead with its an­nual heavy garbage pickup.

The pop­u­lar ser­vice did not re­ceive any fund­ing when coun­cil ap­proved a $ 149- mil­lion op­er­at­ing bud­get last week. But, ac­cord­ing to Clarke, there’s still a pos­si­bil­ity for the re­sump­tion of the heavy garbage pickup.

How­ever, the mayor ex­plained that a sig­nif­i­cant rea­son for not al­lo­cat­ing money for the pickup in the bud­get was be­cause mu­nic­i­pal work­ers col­lected more than 3,300 tonnes of garbage af­ter last Oc­to­ber’s Thanks­giv­ing Day flood. And, he added that a fur­ther 1,300 tonnes was dropped off at the CBRM’s waste man­age­ment fa- cil­ity in Syd­ney. Col­lec­tively, the 4,600 tonnes of refuse col­lected last fall far sur­passes the heavy garbage ser­vice’s an­nual av­er­age of be­tween 28,000 tonnes and 33,000 tonnes.

“That just shows you the mag­ni­tude of the storm and the im­pact it had on peo­ple’s prop­er­ties and their loss of goods,” said Clarke.

“Right now we’re go­ing to be look­ing for pub­lic feedback — so, given that we’ve al­ready col­lected that much, if this is still a pub­lic pri­or­ity then it will be brought back to coun­cil as a pri­or­ity for con­sid­er­a­tion.”

Clarke said the CBRM plans an ed­u­ca­tional cam­paign aimed at let­ting peo­ple know what they can and can’t put out with their reg­u­lar garbage.

Coun­cil­lor Ed­mond (Blue) Mar­shall said he knows from past ex­pe­ri­ence that when there is no heavy garbage pickup some peo­ple will take to dis­pos­ing of un­wanted goods in iso­lated ru­ral ar­eas.

“They’ll be peo­ple dump­ing out on the back roads — it’s hap­pened be­fore and I think the last time we had no heavy garbage pickup there was some dump­ing out in Ge­orges River,” said the Eska­soni-based coun­cil­lor, whose con­stituency in­cludes a large ru­ral area.

“And the peo­ple who live where I’m at and in my dis­trict have a long way to travel to the dump — it’s far and not ev­ery­body can get there.”

Veteran coun­cil mem­ber Ray Paruch says he un­der­stands why CBRM res­i­dents like the ser­vice.

“I think that’s some­thing that’s a huge pay­back, if you will, to the tax­payer,” he said. “A lot of peo­ple can’t do it on their own, they don’t have ac­cess to a half-tonne truck. I have older peo­ple in my dis­trict that don’t have the money to pay some­body to take away the mat­tress and the box spring and the old stove and the old fridge.”

While it re­mains to be seen if there is enough of a de­mand to con­sider re­in­stat­ing the ser­vice, Clarke said that de­ci­sion is likely to be made sooner rather than later.

“If we are go­ing to do it, it’s very im­por­tant to do it in the spring so that we can be as tidy as we can in ad­vance of the tourist and cruise ship sea­son,” he said.

The heavy garbage pickup costs CBRM tax­pay­ers about $250,000 per year.

Mean­while, the mayor said that if there is a sur­plus in the cur­rent op­er­at­ing bud­get, coun­cil might also be able to ad­dress other is­sues such as the mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s grow­ing num­ber of un­sightly, derelict prop­er­ties.

DAVID JALA/CAPE BRETON POST

In the weeks fol­low­ing Oc­to­ber’s Thanks­giv­ing Day floods, mu­nic­i­pal work­ers col­lected more than 3,300 tonnes of ma­te­rial from curb­sides around the mu­nic­i­pal­ity. An ad­di­tional 1,300 tonnes, in­clud­ing this sea of ru­ined ap­pli­ances, was dropped by in­di­vid­u­als and pri­vate clean-up com­pa­nies.

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