Garbage pickup in Maple Ridge trashed

City stuck on how to ask residents about service.

Coun. Robert Masse.

Maple Ridge wants to get an idea about to how poll the public on city-wide curbside garbage pickup before it starts looking at the costs of actually supplying the service.

Council, on Monday, went through a detailed list of what kind of service to seek when it issues a request for bids. But that will all have to wait until the fall, when there’s a better idea of how to survey the public on the whole issue.

“It’s a big tax hike, is what it [garbage collection] represents,” said Coun. Craig Speirs.

“Many years ago, the vision of the recycling centre was a community that doesn’t produce garbage, and we’re getting there,” added Speirs.

He’d rather not spend $90,000 on a plebiscite and wants the issue decided as part of the next civic election.

“I don’t even want to carry on. I think it’s a waste of time.”

Unlike any other city in Metro Vancouver, Maple Ridge has no city-run garbage collection. Residents instead rely on private garbage hauling companies to truck away their trash every week.

Council remains split on the issue, with some saying Maple Ridge needs to catch up, while other councillors say the city is already leading others because of the absence of garbage collection itself.

Coun. Gordy Robson sided with Speirs in keeping the city out of the garbage business.

He said he pays $19 a month for a private garbage collection for three houses on his property. That number could double under a city-run system, he said later.

Coun. Tyler Shymkiw had a similar perspective, saying he hears from people who’ve just moved to Maple Ridge wondering why there is no city garbage collection. Six months later, they’re saying don’t you dare bring in such a system because they’re saving money.

But Coun. Bob Masse said exact costs that taxpayers will face for a city-run trash pick-up service aren’t known.

“I find it annoying that we’re throwing out numbers like $400 [a year].”

“That’s the most garbage of this whole conversation.”

In Pitt Meadows, single family homes pay $253 a year for recycling, garbage and green waste collection.

Council agreed to ask for a report on holding a plebiscite on the issue and will wait until that is completed before getting bids on garbage hauling.

However, it did spell out the level of service for which it will seek bids for garbage collection, if the process moves that far.

That level of service would include weekly collection of green waste or organics, with garbage collected every two weeks. That’s considered “best practice” by most cities, said Masse.

Coun. Kiersten Duncan, though, said the Ridge Meadows Recycling Centre should be part of the discussion.

Mayor Nicole Read agreed, saying the recycling centre should be asked to see if it wants to be involved in collecting green waste (organics – kitchen and yard waste).

Council also decided that only people within the areas that would get the service could vote on whether they want city-run pick-up.

They also decided that the bids would include an annual hazardous waste drop off and that large-item pickup would take place twice a year. The quotes would also entail the contractor providing the garbage containers.

One note, however, in the staff report says that adopting a city-wide collection system could leave residents in the eastern part of the city without any garbage pickup at all. With one single hauler picking up from the majority of the city, private haulers may no longer find it economic to serve the eastern areas.

However, council won’t ask for bids until staff complete the report on how to consult the public on the whole issue.

Former Green party candidate Peter Tam is collecting an online petition calling for city-run garbage pickup though He’s trying to create a desire for change through social media, and he believes the city should provide curbside garbage collection.

“Where I live in Silver Valley, we’re seeing five or six garbage trucks all doing the same thing on a weekly basis,” Tam said.

So far, 223 people have signed that petition.

 

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