Ten­der awarded for new garbage truck

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY TERRY ROBERTS

Cit­i­zens in the Town of Bay Roberts will soon see a shiny new truck pick­ing up their garbage — and per­haps some­time in the near fu­ture their re­cy­clables — at curb­side.

After months of dis­cus­sion and prepa­ra­tion, coun­cil ac­cepted a bid of $217,363 ( plus ap­pli­ca­ble taxes) from Saun­ders Equip­ment Ltd., for the sup­ply of a new large ca­pac­ity side-load truck and packer.

The pur­chase was en­dorsed at coun­cil’s Aug. 30 meet­ing.

The com­pany is based in Fred­er­ic­ton, New Brunswick, and de­scribes it­self as “At­lantic Canada’s largest and most ex­ten­sive dis­trib­u­tor of mu­nic­i­pal and refuse equip­ment.”

The new truck will fea­ture two com­part­ments and is typ­i­cal of the equip­ment used by towns with curb­side re­cy­cling pro­grams.

But un­til that day comes, both com­part­ments will be used for res­i­den­tial waste col­lec­tion, said chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer Nigel Black.

Saun­ders was one of two com­pa­nies to re­spond to the ten­der call. The other was Western Star Freight­liner Trucks of New­found­land, which sub­mit­ted a slightly higher bid of $219,307.

The truck is ex­pected to ar­rive some­time this fall, said Black.

No job losses

Black said it’s likely that two em­ploy­ees will op­er­ate the truck, de­spite the fact it’s de­signed to be used by a sin­gle op­er­a­tor.

The two rear-load­ing trucks now used by the town each re­quire a three-per­son team to op­er­ate, but Black said there will not be any lay­offs.

He said any­one dis­placed by the new truck will be given other du­ties such as col­lect­ing garbage with a pickup truck.

He said the new truck will have a large ca­pac­ity, re­sult­ing in fewer trips to the Robin Hood Bay waste dis­posal site in St. John’s, and re­sult in sig­nif­i­cantly lower main­te­nance and op­er­at­ing costs.

“It re­mains to be seen whether it will be more ef­fi­cient in terms of col­lec­tions,” said Black.

Costs go­ing up

The new truck will ar­rive at a time when mem­bers of coun­cil and town staff are look­ing at ways to im­prove and stream­line the garbage col­lec­tion process, and re­duce the amount of ton­nage be­ing trans­ported to St. John’s each week.

The cost of waste dis­posal has been steadily in­creas­ing, with tip­ping fees at Robin Hood Bay now ex­ceed­ing $65 per tonne.

Coun. Wal­ter Yet­man, who is a mem­ber of the town’s green com­mit­tee, sug­gested it’s time the town se­ri­ously con­sider a curb­side re­cy­cling pro­gram, sim­i­lar to ones al­ready estab­lished by other towns of sim­i­lar size, in­clud­ing Tor­bay. “I think it should be looked at,” said Yet­man. The town has also been pro­mot­ing the prac­tice of com­post­ing, and in June of­fered a new shred­ding ser­vice for or­ganic ma­te­rial like trees, branches and shrubs.

There was also dis­cus­sion about the dis­posal of grass clip­pings, which are cur­rently col­lected by the town. That prac­tice may soon be coming to an end, with some town of­fi­cials com­plain­ing about the added cost of trans­port­ing this or­ganic ma­te­rial to Robin Hood Bay.

Con­cord gets paving work

Con­cord Con­struc­tion has been awarded a con­tract to per­form street up­grad­ing in Val­leyview sub­di­vi­sion. The con­tract is val­ued at just over $359,000, and in­cludes the in­stal­la­tion of curb and gut­ter and storm sew­ers, and as­phalt.

The area in­cludes a section of Bad­cock Boulevard from the in­ter­sec­tions of Fitzger­ald Place and Sparkes Place.

Coun­cil re­jects call for tax re­lief

A re­quest by a busi­ness owner on the Con­cep­tion Bay High­way to have a por­tion of his taxes for­given be­cause of con­struc­tion ac­tiv­ity on the busy street has been re­jected by coun­cil.

The un­named busi­ness owner re­quested that more than $2,600 owed to the town be writ­ten off the books be­cause ac­tiv­ity at his busi­ness has been neg­a­tively im­pacted by the in­stal­la­tion of new sewer in­fra­struc­ture along the high­way.

Mo­torists have ex­pe­ri­enced de­lays and bumpy roads for a sec­ond straight year.

The restau­rant owner said his busi­ness has de­clined by 20 per cent this year, and lunchtime traf­fic is down by 50 per cent.

“ We have been told by many cus­tomers that due to traf­fic de­lays they will sim­ply avoid this area,” the busi­ness owner stated in a let­ter to coun­cil.

Coun­cil mem­bers were unan­i­mous in their de­nial of the re­quest, say­ing all busi­nesses along the high­way are be­ing im­pacted by the con­struc­tion, and for­giv­ing taxes to one would likely lead to a stam­pede of other busi­nesses seek­ing the same treat­ment.

RV pro­posal be­ing con­sid­ered

A pro­posal to build an RV stor­age build­ing and RV park in the Coun­try Pond area has been de­ferred to the plan­ning com­mit­tee for re­view.

But in a bid to ex­pe­dite the process, coun­cil will ask that the pro­po­nent ad­ver­tise his in­ten­tions, since the build­ing and RV park would be a dis­cre­tionary use un­der the town’s de­vel­op­ment reg­u­la­tions.

The pro­po­nent wants to con­struct a 15-me­tre by 91me­tre stor­age build­ing, and con­struct be­tween 60 to 70 RV sites for sea­sonal camp­ing.

Ma­rina ex­empted from prop­erty tax

Coun­cil has agreed to not charge prop­erty tax to the ma­rina op­er­ated by the Royal Canadian Le­gion.

Coun. Melvin Walsh ex­plained the ma­rina was built in con­junc­tion with the town, and is of­ten used by the town for spe­cial events. He also de­scribed the ma­rina as a tourist at­trac­tion that brings vis­i­tors and money to the town.

He said charg­ing prop­erty tax — some $1,700 an­nu­ally — would rep­re­sent an “un­due ex­pense” to the Le­gion, which is a ser­vice group.

It was noted that other ser­vice groups are ex­empt from prop­erty taxes.

Prior to 2011, the ma­rina was never as­sessed for tax­a­tion.

Tax col­lec­tion is work­ing

The town’s new tax col­lec­tion pol­icy seems to be pay­ing div­i­dends. The pol­icy in­cludes tougher mea­sures for tax col­lec­tion ef­forts, yet pro­vides for spe­cial cases in which “ hard­ship is­sues” are present.

The town sent out some 230 let­ters in mid-July to delin­quents with taxes out­stand­ing for 2010 and prior, and so far some $30,000 has been col­lected. Some $840,000 re­mains out­stand­ing, said Black. A large num­ber of tax­pay­ers have agreed to a pay­ment plan with the town.

Black said the let­ters were for in­for­ma­tion pur­poses and to ex­plain the town’s new col­lec­tion pol­icy. Be­gin­ning this month, he said, for­mal notices will be sent to those in ar­rears.

Mean­time, coun­cil agreed not to charge in­ter­est on sev­eral out­stand­ing ac­counts in which the tax­payer was ex­pe­ri­enc­ing fi­nan­cial hard­ship.

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