RE­FLEC­TIVE MO­MENTS Did our re­al­tor for­get to tell us about Zone 9?

Moose Jaw - - Opinions -

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 ron­joy@sask­

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