Reduce, reuse, recycle, reward
Any day now, some day soon, we ought to be able to put away the snow shovels and parkas for another few months. When that glorious day arrives, our attention will shift to warm weather concerns, such as bug infestations, potholes, wheel alignment and that patch of lawn that never looks like the lush pasture pictured on the fertilizer container. Alas, one inevitable rite of the season is spring cleaning. Fortunately, there are many conscientious and energetic citizens who, in addition to beautifying their own properties, also clean up public land by participating in the week-long Pitch In campaigns. And, as everyone is painfully aware, there is ample debris in the countryside to warrant a clean-up bee every week.
Waste management has made the news lately as North Glengarry deals with an overflow of materials at its recycling centre, which has been overloaded with plastics since China became really picky about the recyclables it accepts.
Meanwhile, too many people are guilty of waste mismanagement as large volumes of trash continue to enter the recyclable stream. As The
News reported April 4, about 4,300 tonnes of materials are handled at the Recyclage Alexandria Recycling Equipe (RARE) centre every year. Of this volume, 11 per cent is trash, garbage that is wrongly tossed into blue boxes and which must be separated from recyclables at the RARE plant.
If you can judge a society by its trash, and the repulsive and curious items folks assume are recyclable, we can conclude that there are many confused and disgusting people out there.
The recycling crisis has in turn led to a stricter enforcement of garbage bag limits. Home owners who put out more than two bags per week must buy tags for additional bags, at a cost of $3 each.
With the crackdown, large families are left holdings bags, or are forking out more money for garbage collection service. That makes sense, and is fair under a user-pay system. But on the other end of the scale, one reader has mentioned that the municipality ought to give consideration, and compensation, to the people who put out less than two bags per week.
If you live in a built-up area or a village, or have nosy neighbours, waste disposal options can be limited. You try to hide a piece of garbage in a blue box and you might not get invited to the next neighbourhood barbecue.
However, in rural areas, where life is naturally more relaxed and houses are situated farther apart, there are ample opportunities to implement fully integrated on-site material sorting, reduce environmental footprints, lower garbage output and produce some really great compost.
There’s nothing nefarious going on here, folks. The days of the proverbial Back 40 dump, where everything “disappeared” among the weeds and cow carcasses, are long gone.
Yet, in the boonies, people who have woodstoves and open spaces can responsibly recycle and process materials, without harming the environment and without overtaxing our already heavily burdened waste management infrastructure.
Thus, it would seem apt for municipalities to introduce a recognition program for those who, say, put out only one garbage bag a week. Reduce, reuse, refuse and reward. Does that have a nice ring to it? Before anyone gets excited, remember that this is just an idea being tossed out. Yet, a “less is more” incentive would make for a really nifty proposal in the context of a municipal election campaign.
Granted, there are other, apparently more vital, issues on the political agenda. North Glengarry is still trying to deal with certain fundamental matters, such as ensuring adequate sewage and water services can be provided in Alexandria and Maxville.
“Fluid” best describes the situation over the last few months at the NG town hall, where tax bill discrepancies have not yet been officially resolved.
While the revolving door seems to have stopped spinning, there is still no word on an Ontario Provincial Police investigation into irregularities that were noticed back in January of 2017.
To recap: Since late 2017, North Glengarry has dismissed treasurer Annie Levac and tax collector Sandra Cameron. CAO Daniel Gagnon has returned to Elliot Lake. Sarah Huskinson, who was named deputytreasurer and then treasurer, was recently appointed CAO.
Kimberly Champigny, who has been working in Red Deer, Alberta, has been hired as the new treasurer.
As of today, as far as we know, no other staff changes have taken place.
The arrival of a new finance director from the other side of the country completes an overhaul of all of the money-handling positions. Ms. Champigny, who has been Administrative and Accounting Supervisor for the City of Red Deer Public Works Department, obviously has the chops to oversee the books here. She is used to dealing with a $24 million annual operating budget in a city with a population of about 100,000.
As a bonus, she brings an outsider’s impartial perspective, a valuable intangible in a small township where everyone knows, or is related to, everyone else.
But while a sense of stability may be setting in at municipal offices, there are nagging questions about the tax account errors, and the police probe, and whether any charges will be laid.
Taxpayers deserve some sort of signal that their money is being handled responsibly and that this year’s tax invoices will be accurate. When their is a void of information, the cavity is used filled with dark thoughts.
Meanwhile, familiar faces are running in the campaign for municipal council posts, and few new candidates have come forward.
Decisions by incumbents mean that North Glengarry will have a new mayor, a new deputy mayor and a new Maxville councillor. Plus, the area will be represented by a new trustee on the Upper Canada District School Board now that Wendy MacPherson has confirmed that she will not seek re-election. But not surprisingly, there is little buzz about the fall elections. Besides, we all have other priorities, especially when the great outdoors and dead leaves beckon, and we begin fretting about the ultraviolet index and not wind chill. - Richard Mahoney [email protected]garrynews.ca
Taxpayers should be recognized for staying below garbage bag limit. Let’s hope the revolving door has stopped spinning at town hall.