Blackfalds Town council has voted to continue the Request for Proposal (RFP) process for new waste and recycling carts in order to replace the current recycling containers with larger carts.
Preston Weran, director of infrastructure and property services for the Town, brought the issue to council again because, while the correct collection costs were brought to council at the Feb. 12, 2013 meeting, at the recent budget workshop administration did not indicate that there would be an increase in collection costs by switching to carts.
Weran said this is true for waste carts, but not recycling carts and stated administration wanted to ensure council had all the information regarding the cost of the program prior to moving forward and sending out RFP packages for the supply of carts.
Weran said the additional cost would be $26,544 for 12 months at 79 cents per recycling pickup at 2,800 units.
However, because the phasing plan administration had planned to implement would minimize delivery costs, the actual cost would be approximately $13,272.
When asked by Councillor Dean Wigmore if this additional cost would mean higher utility costs for residents, Weran said it would not. Instead, that cost would be absorbed through growth.
The earlier decision to move from current waste and recycling containers to carts was made in an effort to be more environmentally responsible. Weran said that the new containers would eliminate problems of material blowing around the Town and animals getting into garbage.
Weran added that the reason for the increase in cost was that the current contractor charges less for recycling pickup as there is less contamination with the current blue box recycling containers than the recycling carts. He added the reasoning for this is that blue boxes can be sorted at the curb upon pickup, something that will not be possible with the carts.
As such, Councillor Richard Poole was curious as to why the type of container was being changed if the current blue box is better for collectors and cheaper to pick up. “If it isn’t broken why are we fixing it?”
Weran said the carts are cleaner, are less likely to blow over in the wind and therefore less likely to have their contents spill.
While Poole admitted he has seen some evidence of recyclables blowing around because of the open blue boxes, he argued such occurrences were minimal and therefore the Town should continue using the boxes instead of the carts, which would make it easier for pickup.
Mayor Melodie Stol disagreed.
“Our current blue box system is an open bin and people put loose newspaper, loose film, loose plastic and whatnot in them,” said Stol. “And when it blows, when the wind blows, (those items) come out of the blue box and blow through the neighbourhood and you see it again and again and again.”
Stol added that Blackfalds’ most recent windstorm convinced her more than anything that council was doing the right thing by changing the container type.
Councillor William Taylor made the motion to continue with the RFP process, saying the new program would make it easier for Blackfalds residents to recycle and therefore should limit the amount of garbage from residents as well.
Council voted six to one in favour of the motion, with Poole opposed.