REFLECTIVE MOMENTS Did our realtor forget to tell us about Zone 9?
Moose Jaw residents have been doing a landfill amount of trash talk in the past couple of weeks — turning coffee row and grocery store aisles into heated discussion areas in what many see as another failure by city mothers and fathers.
Over the years, this city has been embroiled in heated debates about the Kinsmen Sportsplex, expansion of the library and art museum, encroachment of buildings into Crescent Park, demolition of heritage buildings and most recently, construction of Mosaic Place and Yara Centre and the decision of who will pay for the water main replacement program. In many of those chats, most folks were spectators, being able to engage or to ignore the chatter, shrugging off what decisions might be made because they weren’t directly involved in swimming or skating, didn’t frequent Crescent Park, never stopped to admire old buildings, weren’t interested in book reading or artist endeavours, watched hockey and figure skating on television, couldn’t be bothered exercising in public and felt they would outlive the pipes below the streets.
But mess with their garbage and that’s another story. What’s one person’s trash is another person’s garbage, front yard or back alley. Just leave it be.
Of course, the topic is top of mind following release of the results of that $10,000 telephone survey to determine the desires of where residents would like to have their garbage collected — at the front curb or hidden away in the back alley.
We’ve all heard the results: a larger percentage likes the back-alley plan, voicing a variety of concerns, tempered only slightly by the cost-saving the city says will result from conversion to the street from alleys. Then the trash talk really began after executive committee decided to ignore the survey and plough ahead with curb side collection — at a slower rate and with improved communi- For Moose Jaw Express cation between garbage administrators and the tax-paying public.
I have my opinions about both alleys and streets, but what got my dander up good and proper was reading, in finer print on the survey, that our zone, that being No. 9, was not part of the phone survey because it is “challenged.” I suspect this area meets someone’s criteria for challenges, being that we have back alleys that are narrow, usually muddy in spring, rutted in spring and fall, and piled with snow in winter. But we live in a beautiful area and I for one don’t think it was pleasant, accurate or polite to call this zone “challenged” as though the residents therein wouldn’t be offended, insulted or hurt by that designation. How challenged are we when it comes to collecting the fees for garbage pickup? I suspect on those billing days we are more than adequate in terms of what is being charged. Shame, shame, shame on whoever dreamed up that designation for Zone 9, the tiny purplish zone on the map, surrounded on three sides by the green Zone 4 and on a fourth side by a bit of Zone 5 whose colour is somewhat pinkish.
So how do we in this zone overcome our challenges? Is there a course we can take to improve the neighbourhood, a consultant we can hire to give us advice which we could them promptly ignore?
But coming out of being a challenged zone must mean that finally we will get something for our regular garbage collection payments — one of those green bins that residents not in challenged areas have had since trash became such a vocal talking point in and out of council chambers. I fully acknowledge that our landfill needs some serious work and money, I accept that the city is likely a few steps behind other communities on the collection of trash, but please, there is no need to be disrespectful of those of us placed in Zone 9 and then to label the zone as “challenged.”
So how soon will we receive our green bins? We are waiting, hoping that soon we will get something for the increased garage fees. Our breath is baited.
Joyce Walter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org