Garbage on hold
Majority of city unable to transition to curbside garbage collection
About 65 per cent of Moose Jaw residents will not be able to transition to curbside garbage collection, according to a new city administration report presented at Monday’s executive committee meeting.
Due to a motion brought forth by Coun. Chris Warren on Aug. 14, only 35 per cent of the city would be able to switch over because of the new criteria.
“We have existing people on curbside with no driveways. All of a sudden, we couldn’t do curbside with those people anymore, “Matt Noble, city manager said.
The motion excludes blocks from curbside collection where more than 20 per cent of homes do not have front driveways, blocks with an excess of cars using parking on the street, blocks with streets defined as narrow by the city, blocks where on-street parking lanes do not exist and blocks where more than 20 per cent of homes have retaining walls and more than one-step to the curb.
The strict criteria complicate matters even further, as some residents who have been on curbside collection for years would be eligible to switch back to alley pick-up.
“One step is not usually considered to be a debilitating factor but we have pictures of some where there’s several steps and they show us the pictures of the steps, but right next to it is a driveway with a very gradual slope. Under either criteria, curbside would not apply to them and yet it should because they are functional,” said Noble.
After their findings, administration proposed five alternatives. Council could continue with original full implantation, implement exceptions for all the new criteria, use some of them, leave the program as is in its pilot stage, or cancel all of curbside collection.
“I would really like to see community consultation before we implement anything,” said Warren.
He also became frustrated when Moose Jaw was compared to other cities.
In the memo, administration said Moose Jaw was the only city in the province that has not transitioned to curbside waste collection. Regina has the next lowest ratio with about 65 per cent of homes getting curbside service.
“We just had a report in June that states of the 10 bigger cities in Saskatchewan, three of them were at 100 per cent with Yorkton at 99. The other six were between 65 and 100 per cent. They’re partially curbside but so are we, right now,” Warren said during the meeting.
Warren said he had completed his own analysis on his own time and found major cities in Alberta and Manitoba vary in their approach to garbage pick up. At this time, the municipality of Moose Jaw has transitioned about 24 per cent of properties. The intent of the report was to provide benchmarks for council.
“The bottom line is, we can never have 100 percent conversion because of the nature of city.
“We may well although be able to obtain 65 or 80 percent and we thought that after all this time that was understood,” said Noble.
When combined with bi-weekly collection, curbside garbage pick up is meant to result in significant financial savings, which in turn address cuts from the provincial government – grants in lieu from property taxes – and invest in the city landfill.
After a lengthily meeting, council decided it was best to consult with the public before transitioning areas three, four and five to curbside pick up.
Council would also like to continue reviewing the five criteria adopted during the Aug. 14 meeting exempting blocks from curbside pick up.