Maple Ridge working on public opinion process for garbage pickup

Staff preparing report on holding a non-binding plebiscite

Maple Ridge is looking at city-run garbage pickup.

Maple Ridge is looking at city-run garbage pickup.

Maple Ridge council has told staff to put a plebiscite proposal together – in case council wants to poll the public on having a city-run garbage collection service.

The city also will hold a bidding process in order to get costs from garbage hauling companies for providing such a service. That will allow staff to determine how much such a service will cost and what the annual levy or charge will be on property tax bills, all details that would appear on a plebiscite.

“We’ll go to the RFP so that we can actually get the prices direct from the supplier,” said Mayor Nicole Read, following Tuesday’s meeting.

If the city decides to hold a plebiscite, it will be non-binding and could cost up to $65,000. Alternatively, people could just be asked to vote on the issue at the next civic election in 2018.

Council has already determined that only the single family homes and townhomes currently served by the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society trucks will be considered for city-run garbage pickup, leaving service unchanged in the far eastern party of the city such as Whonnock.

What hasn’t yet been decided is if the entire city would be able to vote in a plebsicite, or just the areas that would receive, and pay for the service.

Maple Ridge currently has no central garbage pickup. Residents instead hire private garbage-hauling companies to collect their trash at curbside or they haul it down to the transfer station.

Pitt Meadows has recently started using automated garbage pickup trucks.

Apartment blocks or condos though will be excluded from the process because they usually already have commercial waste pickup.

If council decides to start a city-run service, the city still would have to pass a formal bylaw that would set a garbage levy. That also would require the approval of the residents who’d pay for and receive the service.