During a regular meeting of Blackfalds council on Nov. 10th, a discussion took place regarding the Town’s waste management bylaw and how it was enforced, as well as the status of Blackfald’s waste management overall.
Discussion was centered around concerns brought forth by Councillor Richard Poole. Poole took exception to a Facebook post made by Town administration on Oct. 30th.
The post stated that, with winter approaching, it was important for residents to keep alleys tidy to allow for garbage and recycling collection trucks to have access to bins.
It also stated carts must be placed back inside the property line within 48 hours of collection day and to increase awareness regarding the waste management bylaw warning labels would be affixed to bins that were left out for a short period but further incidences would result in a $100 fine.
Poole said he was disappointed in the wording and tone of the post. He added that people had been allowed to store bins behind their property with past waste management systems and implied that fining residents for not removing their bins was a heavy-handed response.
Poole also made a motion the bylaw be clarified to read that collection bins must be removed from the driveable alleyway, sidewalk or roadway within 48 hours of collection day and all references to property lines be taken out.
Councillor William Taylor said that, when the new waste management system was put in place, the Town said it would be flexible in light of the many concerns raised.
He added the actions of the Town in response to compliance issues with the new bylaw were otherwise.
“All of a sudden we kind of came up with this hard line,” said Taylor.
Councillor Nicole Blauel said there has to come a time when the Town does draw a line and start enforcing its bylaws.
“At what point do we start ending our soft bylaws?” said Blauel. “If we continue to just have them in a document and not actually follow through with them, what is the whole point in actually having that bylaw stating that if you fail to meet this, you will be fined?”
Councillor Dean Wigmore agreed.
“I think a lot of people had time over the summer to learn what to do with their bins,” said Wigmore.
He added that he saw little value in altering a bylaw that hadn’t even existed a full year and the bylaw, which states that bins must be brought back within residents’ property lines within 48 hours of collection days, was clear enough as it is.
Mayor Melodie Stol suggested the issue be referred back to administration so it could come back to council and they be able to see the bylaw before altering it.
Taylor made a motion to refer.
Poole request a recorded vote on both motions, which were both defeated 5-2, with Stol and Taylor voting in favour to refer and Poole and Taylor voting in favour of the original motion.
Poole also made a motion to have a complete record of all complaints and errors regarding garbage pickup be kept between Nov. 15th and Dec. 31st and have the complaints presented to council by Jan. 15th.
The motion was changed to read that administration monitor and record waste management concerns via various mediums for the remainder of the year and assemble it in a report to be presented to council at the Jan. 19th meeting at the suggestion of Chief Administrative Officer Myron Thompson. That motion passed unanimously.