Maple Ridge council is back to talking trash.
After the previous council rejected even studying municipal-wide garbage collection, the new council is asking for a fresh look at the issue. At its Monday workshop meeting, it asked staff to dig up the basic details on costs and what it would mean to offer city-wide garbage collection and report back.
Mayor Nicole Read raised the issue as council reviewed 2014 Citizen Satisfaction Survey. The survey, done in the last year of every council’s mandate, said the lack of city-wide garbage collection is an issue for some people.
Currently, Maple Ridge does not have a city-wide collection system, either municipally operated or through a single contractor, and relies on a handful of private companies to collect garbage from curbside.
“If we start messing with [this], we have an obligation to start doing something with it,” noted Coun. Gordy Robson.
Coun. Bob Masse said he’d like the report to include actual comparative costs to residents of the different means of garbage collection. Having gone through it three years ago, the numbers provided stalled the process.
But Read just wanted the report to lay out the range of options available followed by a more in-depth debate on the issue.
But Coun. Corisa Bell said most of the information should be on hand and is current.
“We have all this information. The numbers that were brought forward to us were definitely interesting,” she added.
“I look forward to an accurate report coming back.”
According to the citizen survey, the lack of garbage collection was the top unprompted topic from those who commenting on the level of city services, with 18 per cent, or 161 of the 897 people who responded, saying it was an issue.
“With only 18 per cent support, that’s not much,” said Coun. Craig Speirs.
However, the issue of lack of city garbage collection was way down the list when the survey asked residents what they least liked about living in Maple Ridge.
The top issue for those answering that question was homelessness, with 23 per cent saying that was a problem. Lack of shopping was next on the list, with 22 per cent saying that was what they least liked about living here. Crime was third on the list.
But only seven per cent (63 residents) said lack of garbage was what they least liked about living here.
Bell tried in 2012 and 2013 to get the city to look at city-wide garbage collection, but was voted down. Masse supported Bell’s attempt at looking at city-wide collection.
Council, in 2012, voted against spending $85,000 on a study that would get expressions of interest from garbage haulers in operating a single, city-wide garbage collection service.
Former mayor Ernie Daykin said then that asking for expressions of interest could lead to contractual obligations on the city’s behalf.
Bell then raised the issue in 2013 after learning that garbage haulers would provide estimates for services at no cost and no obligation to the city. But she was voted down in that proposal, as well.
Council also didn’t want to review it at time when Metro Vancouver was implementing its January 2015 ban on green waste in household garbage. An increase in property taxes resulting from a city-wide system was also a concern.
Garbage haulers are now in the process of adding green waste collection to their services in order to comply with Metro Vancouver’s ban.