Waste man­age­ment not work­ing for cabin own­ers

The Compass - - EDITORIAL -

We live in a democ­racy where gov­ern­ments are elected demo­crat­i­cally but then gen­er­ally gov­ern au­to­crat­i­cally. Re­gret­tably all gov­ern­ments are alike in that re­gard as we have ex­pe­ri­enced first hand with the pre­vi­ous PC’s and the cur­rent Dwight Ball Lib­er­als.

Noth­ing changes ir­re­spec­tive of how one voices one’s opin­ion, as af­ter a po­lit­i­cal party wins an elec­tion your views are gen­er­ally con­sid­ered stupid and ir­rel­e­vant un­til the next elec­tion rolls around.

The Pro­vin­cial Waste Man­age­ment Strat­egy was de­vel­oped in the early 2000s. The fo­cus of the strat­egy was geared to­ward mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, lo­cal ser­vice dis­tricts, and un­in­cor­po­rated com­mu­ni­ties.

Ini­tially cabin ar­eas were never pub­licly iden­ti­fied as be­ing part of this strat­egy and rightly so as the greater ma­jor­ity of cabin own­ers live full time out­side of their cabin ar­eas where they pay taxes for garbage col­lec­tion and sub­se­quently sup­port waste man­age­ment ac­tiv­i­ties.

To date, seven waste man­age­ment boards have been es­tab­lished on the is­land. No doubt the boards, made up of rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the var­i­ous city, town, and com­mu­nity coun­cils, are look­ing for ways to de­crease or main­tain the costs of pro­vid­ing garbage col­lec­tion ser­vices in their re­spec­tive ar­eas and cabin ar­eas are cer­tainly seen as a cash cow in that re­gard.

In 2015 se­lected cabin own­ers on the Avalon Penin­sula were in­cluded in the waste man­age­ment strat­egy. This came about with­out any prior no­tice that such a ser­vice was be­ing con­sid­ered or re­quested and a fee of $180 per prop­erty per year is as­sessed ir­re­spec­tive if one availed of the ser­vice or not.

In­ter­est is charged on un­paid ac­counts, col­lec­tion agen­cies are en­gaged, your credit rat­ing is af­fected, and peo­ple are taken to court for non pay­ment. The pre­vi­ous PC gov­ern­ment ob­vi­ously knew that this would not be an easy sell so “quiet” leg­is­la­tion was passed in 2012/13 which gave the re­spec­tive waste man­age­ment boards the author­ity to do all of the above.

The whole process is very dic­ta­to­rial and ap­peared to be a hall­mark of the pre­vi­ous PC ad­min­is­tra­tion and re­gret­tably it is em­braced by the new Lib­eral gov­ern­ment. Today as it hap­pens this ex­tra garbage col­lec­tion fee is com­pounded all that more by the re­cently passed gov­ern­ment bud­get which will have a fur­ther dev­as­tat­ing im­pact on the fi­nan­cial re­sources of the “not so well off” res­i­dents of the prov­ince.

It goes with­out say­ing that as the greater ma­jor­ity of cabin own­ers are not in fa­vor of or par­tic­i­pate in the ser­vice, then it be­comes an ex­tremely con­tentious is­sue and will not go away. Of course the re­spec­tive waste man­age­ment boards can sim­ply used the leg­is­la­tion and the law to charge in­ter­est on un­paid ac­counts and sue ac­cord­ingly with a big thank you to the min­is­ters who spon­sored and sup­port this process.

De­spite be­ing a pro­vin­cial strat­egy, the var­i­ous boards are free to do what­ever they feel is ac­cept­able for their re­spec­tive ar­eas. Some boards will be very ag­gres­sive in pro­mot­ing this waste man­age­ment strat­egy, as we are see­ing with Eastern Waste Man­age­ment, while other boards may not in­clude cabin sites in their game plan.

The fact re­mains that in or­der for this Pro­vin­cial Waste Man­age­ment Strat­egy to work it re­quires ev­ery­one to buy in and sup­port the var­i­ous ini­tia­tives. This re­quires in-depth con­sul­ta­tion with ev­ery­one in­volved, which did not oc­cur re­gard­ing the cabin garbage col­lec­tion ser­vice as ad­min­is­tered by Eastern Waste Man­age­ment.

For those cabin own­ers who have not been af­fected as yet, it is some­thing that re­quires your at­ten­tion given the gov­ern­ment sup­ported the dic­ta­to­rial way in which this strat­egy is ad­min­is­tered.

The point to be noted here is that if you own a cabin in New­found­land, be pre­pared to pay a garbage col­lec­tion fee with­out any con­sul­ta­tion or say in this whole process.

Brett Ware­ham writes from Petty Har­bour

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