Mayor weighs in on heavy garbage
No funds allocated, but annual pickup may still happen
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.
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.