Going after garbage
Town of Clarke’s Beach to do its own collections, likely starting in new year
The Town of Clarke’s Beach is continuing to bolster its growing fleet of equipment as the flourishing Conception Bay North municipality becomes more and more self-sufficient.
The town recently purchased a 2003 Labrie Expert 2000 waste compactor for just under $50,000, and it’s expected the town will begin to provide residential garbage collection to its citizens early in 2013. The truck was purchased from the Town of Grand Bank, and features a 35 cubic yard side load, with a 60/40 split compartment.
The current contract with Lynch’s Trucking is set to expire at the end of this year, and the town has begun advertising for a driver/collector with the appropriate licences and endorsements.
It’s just the latest service the town plans to provide “in-house,” and follows a move last year to take on snowclearing, which historically had been provided by a private contractor.
The garbage collection issue has been discussed briefly at recent council meetings.
The town had hoped to give the task to its two public works employees, but neither are qualified to operate the vehicle. It would take six weeks at a cost of some $5,500 per employee to undergo the necessary training at a local driver training centre, Coun. Garry Bendell explained last month.
Mayor Betty Moore said she supported the purchase based on the assumption that existing staff members could do the job. Bendell said the employees “told us they were qualified.” However, that’s not the case. “I’ll have to check with them on that,” Moore stated during the Oct. 15 council meeting.
Clarke’s Beach is also entering into talks with the neighbouring Town of South River about the possibility of sharing the garbage collection service.
But councillors felt the first priority was to get the service up and running before any decision is made on partnering with South River.
“We are interested, but we need to find out more details,” Coun. Roland Andrews commented.
If garbage collection were to become a regional service, it could begin to mirror the regional fire services agreement that was put in place several years ago. Under this system, the towns of North River, Clarke’s Beach, South River and Cupids, and the local service district of Makinsons, oversee and operate the Bay de Grave fire brigade.
“This is a start in the right direction,” Bendell noted.
Increase in fuel costs
Meanwhile, council has adopted a new fuel purchase policy for its vehicles following some concern about a significant increase in costs during the month of September.
Councillors agreed that a purchase order book would be used, ensuring that detailed information is kept on fuel purchases and consumption. It was also emphasized that town employees should be using log books to document vehicle usage, expenses and other matters.
“We need some kind of controls on it,” Coun. Eldon Snow said.
Fuel expenses increased by some $500 in September, though much of the increase was attributed to cleanup efforts following Tropical Storm Leslie, and two trips to Grand Bank to view the garbage truck.
Bendell also referred to what he called “unnecessary driving around” as a cause for the increased cost.
Property purchase questioned
Tension continues over a decision by council to purchase land on the waterfront, next to the Conception Bay Highway. The land is located adjacent to the cenotaph and across the street from the municipal building.
Council voted 5-0 during a hastily called meeting on Monday, Aug. 6— the town’s civic holiday — to approve the spending of $40,000 for the purchase of the property. One of the ideas floated by council is to relo- cate the old railway station building to the site and convert it into a museum.
The decision has been met with opposition from some residents, including Wallace Reid, who has spoken out loudly against the decision.
Reid has argued that the railway station should stay in place and be developed into a heritage site, while some members of council argue the station is a magnet for loud and rowdy behaviour, and needs to be put to better use.
Once all the legal conditions are met, the final sale of the waterfront property will likely be approved in the coming days.
The station has been at the centre of controversy for several years, with several hundred residents signing a petition in 2009, demanding that the building not be moved.