(THE NEWS/files)                                Maple Ridge Coun. Gordy Robson opposes city-run collection of garbage.

(THE NEWS/files) Maple Ridge Coun. Gordy Robson opposes city-run collection of garbage.

Garbage issue on Maple Ridge’s next election ballot

Everyone will have a say on moving to single, city-wide pickup

All Maple Ridge residents will have a say during next year’s civic elections on whether they want city-wide garbage collection.

Council decided Tuesday to extend the question on whether Maple Ridge should adopt a single, city-wide garbage collection system, to everyone, instead of just those in the service area, as it tries to sort out the issue.

“I’m really happy. I know it’s a divisive issue in the community,” said Mayor Nicole Read, Wednesday.

There are strong opinions on both sides of the issue.

“This is the best thing on this for us, to do, is to take it to the public.”

Everyone’s impacted by the issue because household garbage can be dumped in the rural areas by those who haven’t hired a company to collect their trash.

“Giving the public an opportunity to provide feedback on this is a really great step,” Read said.

Unlike most cities, Maple Ridge has no single, city-wide garbage collection company or a city-run collection service and instead relies on a handful of private haulers, contracted by each household, to collect garbage and green waste at curbside.

A staff report says it could cost up to $35,000 to put the question on to a separate ballot and have people vote on it when they choose a new council and mayor on Oct. 20, 2018.

Before people vote, the city will ask for quotes from garbage-hauling companies on the costs for providing the service in the urban areas of the city. That process will take place as closely as possible to the vote so the costs are as accurate as possible.

Once the bids come in, staff will determine how much each household should pay and include that in the vote.

Following the vote, the city still will have to create a garbage collection bylaw that could be defeated through a public assent process. That process will cost about $55,000.

Coun. Gordy Robson opposed the vote and said he was disappointed that the city will not be asking just the people who will be paying for the service. Council has been discussing the issue for six years, he added.

Coun. Bob Masse campaigned on having city-wide garbage collection during the last two elections and is happy the issue will be decided one way or the other.

Coun. Corisa Bell said garbage collection has been the number one issue in the last two Maple Ridge elections.

“I think it was a big win for the community.”

For a long time, it was the view that Maple Ridge wasn’t going to get garbage pickup, she added.

“This is the best way, I believe, to do it.”

She doesn’t expect it will affect the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society. People will still recycle even if they have city-wide garbage pickup.

Many items, such as cardboard, are already banned from the waste stream.