Tender awarded for new garbage truck
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.