With the relationship between Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows strained, the latter Pitt Meadows is looking to partner with Port Coquitlam, at least on garbage collection.
PoCo will be bidding on the garbage collection contract for Pitt Meadows when it goes to a request for proposals later this month, and the two cities are looking for other areas where they might cooperate.
“We look at it as a service we have expertise in delivering,” said PoCo Mayor Greg Moore, confirming his city intends to jump in once the RFP is announced.
This comes as Maple Ridge served Pitt Meadows with what Coun. Tracy Miyashita called “divorce papers,” announcing that their long cooperation in parks and recreation would come to an end in October 2016.
That was followed by Ridge announcing it would also pull its share of funding out of Tourism Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows.
There has also been controversy over the Pitt Meadows airport, with Pitt council asking Ridge to bow out, leaving Pitt Meadows with sole custody.
Traditionally, PoCo has gravitated toward Coquitlam and Port Moody for partners in providing municipal services, said Moore. But the election of John Becker and a new council now has PoCo increasingly looking at Pitt Meadows as a potential partner.
Approximately six weeks ago, Moore’s council hosted Becker and his council for a dinner at PoCo City Hall, and they discussed areas of common interest. They went over plans for PoCo’s new $100 million pool and recreation centre, transit and “different opportunities,” said Moore.
Moore clarified there was no talk of a partnership in parks and rec, noting that the split with Maple Ridge only came about two weeks ago.
However, PoCo knows that already 30 per cent of the participants in its recreation programs are from outside of the community, and it would welcome more Pitt Meadows customers to create revenue.
It is unusual for a municipality to respond to another city’s RFP – which are normally the domain of private companies – but there is nothing prevent it, said Pitt Meadows CAO Kim Grout.
“If a municipality wants to submit a bid, they’re welcome to.”
Since 2009, the city’s solid waste contract has been with Waste Management Inc.
The RFP should be issued in mid-November, and Grout said it normally takes about a month for the city to make a decision.
Becker said the city is not necessarily displeased with the service provided by Waste Management.
“It’s free agent time, and we’re testing the market,” said the mayor.
Asked whether the two cities could partner further in recreation or tourism, Becker responded, “I don’t think we would be closed to the notion of it.”
“Some synergies may well make sense,” Becker added. “We’re not turning our back on Maple Ridge, as much as we are expanding our peripheral vision.”
Director of engineering and operations Kristen Meersman said PoCo residents pay $182 per household per year for garbage and green waste collection. The cost of recycling is more complicated, she said, and is on the property tax bill, with payments from new recycler Multi-Material B.C. subtracted.
Recycling collection is a single-stream, blue bin system in PoCo, which Pitt Meadows would need to adopt in order for Poco to provide that service.
Meersman was not sure whether solid waste collection would be the same price as in PoCo, because the higher density of the larger city may make collection more efficient.