Unan­i­mous vote sees city re­vert to garbage col­lec­tion sys­tem as it was in June 2017

Moose Jaw Express.com - - Classifieds - Randy Palmer Moose Jaw Ex­press

Cit­i­zens of Moose Jaw spoke, Moose Jaw city coun­cil lis­tened. And the de­ci­sion was made to push the con­tentious curb­side garbage col­lec­tion sys­tem to the way­side. Af­ter 16 months of debate, dis­cus­sion and a tele­phone poll that even­tu­ally proved the tip­ping point for many cit­i­zens, coun­cil de­cided that: -- res­i­den­tial waste col­lec­tion would re­vert to the com­bined curb­side and back-al­ley pick-up sys­tem as ex­isted in June 2017; -- that the re­quire­ment for re­place­ment and recovery of bins by home­owner on col­lec­tion day be ex­tended to all res­i­dents, re­gard­less of lo­ca­tion; -- that a weekly waste pick-up sched­ule will ap­ply for June, July, Au­gust and Septem­ber, ef­fec­tive June 2018. All three mo­tions passed unan­i­mously, while a mo­tion to al­low a neigh­bour­hood to move to curb­side col­lec­tion if a pe­ti­tion showed a ma­jor­ity in­ter­est was de­feated. Coun, Don Mitchell – who had been ve­he­mently op­posed to curb­side pick-up in the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil meet­ing where the orig­i­nal mo­tion was passed – asked for a re-vote on the curb­side mo­tion af­ter the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil re­port had been filed. That kicked off a nearly hour-long process that in­cluded a cav­al­cade of speak­ers voic­ing their opin­ion on the sub­ject, all in op­po­si­tion to curb­side col­lec­tion. “This is the last place I thought I’d be af­ter the poll said 85 per cent wanted (col­lec­tion) in the back al­ley,” said Moose Jaw res­i­dent Rick Walker, with his sen­ti­ments echoed by ev­ery speaker. “Peo­ple give their lives to live in a demo­cratic coun­try and we seem to have an un­demo­cratic four on city coun­cil... I’ve talked to many peo­ple in area one where I live and hon­est to Je­sus, I haven’t found one that wanted front curb­side pick-up. I’ve talked to a lot of peo­ple on the east side of town and I haven’t found one that wanted curb­side pick-up. “This four, they know who they are, took that 85 per cent poll and the $10,000 of tax­pay­ers’ dol­lars and fired it in the garbage can. It meant noth­ing to you to do it that night. Treat­ing the tax­payer with re­spect, the peo­ple who put you in here to be­gin with, should be num­ber one on your minds.” Im­me­di­ately af­ter the final speaker had said their piece, Mitchell’s mo­tion for a revote was brought to coun­cil, and the orig­i­nal mo­tion in favour of curb­side pick-up was de­feated unan­i­mously. “We didn’t have a lot of dis­cus­sion on the sur­vey, I was kind of taken by sur­prise that the rec­om­men­da­tion came for­ward in spite of the sur­vey that we had in­vested in as a way of in­clud­ing res­i­dents in the process,” Mitchell said. “But I didn’t hear any­one on coun­cil chal­lenge the re­sults of the sur­vey and as we heard from the gallery, that didn’t mat­ter. To me, that mat­ters a lot, es­pe­cially when talk­ing about the ser­vice of waste col­lec­tion, which I men­tioned ear­lier of all the ser­vices we pro­vide is the one we rely on prop­erty own­ers the most to work with us.” Mitchell con­tin­ued, say­ing that the re­sis­tance to curb­side col­lec­tion had largely been pushed to the side and dis­missed from the start of the process, even in spite of poll num­bers that showed the ma­jor­ity op­posed to the change. Prior to the vote, Mayor Fraser Tolmie thanked the speak­ers who com­mented on the is­sue and the di­rec­tion coun­cil was lean­ing. “Democ­racy isn’t easy and some­times it’s messy,” Tolmie said. “But it’s a process we ex­change in and this com­mu­nity has re­ally stood up and made its voice heard and I be­lieve this mo­tion will pass.” For Coun. Brian Swan­son, the en­tire is­sue was a mat­ter of “clos­ing the barn door af­ter the horse has gone”. “I think back to when we sat in that room a year-and-ahalf ago and this came up, I re­mem­ber los­ing six-to-one af­ter say­ing ‘don’t get into this, don’t try and do this’,” he said. “And un­for­tu­nately it’s be­come the is­sue of the city for 16 months now, when as peo­ple have said tonight, there are so many im­por­tant things we should be deal­ing with... To get chasing down rab­bit holes about garbage when we shouldn’t even have gone there, and tonight we see it’s a full swing to 7-0 to not im­ple­ment this any fur­ther. And I think of all the en­ergy and time and money that got wasted do­ing that... that should be the story of this.” As a re­sult of the mo­tions, there will be no change to cur­rent pick-up pro­ce­dures or sched­ules un­til weekly pick-up re­turns in June. Home­own­ers will, by law, have to move their bins from the back al­ley if there is no garbage in them – such as when out-of-town -- to pre­vent col­lec­tors from wast­ing time pick­ing up empty bins on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

Moose Jaw res­i­dent Rick Walker speaks to city coun­cil dur­ing their reg­u­lar meet­ing on Apr. 9.

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