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Free curbside garbage bag ends July 1; free brush runs could end July 7

One free garbage bag curbside ends July 1 and free dump runs of brush could soon follow.

Strengthened littering and dumping fines, and more public education on composting will also come foward for council approval at its July 7 meeting.

“There is an ongoing shift in waste management regulations and practices at all levels of government in an effort to reduce waste generation, increase waste diversion, save landfill space and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions related,” said Tanya Delaney, Waste Services and Sustainability Supervisor, in her report to council at its Committee of the Whole meeting Thursday.

“The province is moving toward a producer-funded recycling program and has stated that it will be coming forward with a proposal to ban organic materials from landfills in the near future,” Delaney said.

Her report, written at the request of council during 2020 budget deliberations, noted activities at waste sites, operations, and practices have not been revisited since 2010.

One common request from the public is for waste sites to be open more often.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ameliasburgh and Milford landfill and transfer sites joined Picton in being open on Wednesdays. Council will decide at its July 7 meeting to continue with the Wednesday openings at six sites until Sept. 30. So far, Delaney said funds collected at the sites on the extra day have earned more than what was paid out in staffing.

Sites are located at Hillier, South Marysburgh, Ameliasburgh, Wellington, Picton, Hallowell and Sophiasburgh.

“Since the Picton transfer station is already open two days a week, the increase in cost each year for wages and benefits for two attendants work work one extra day a week at the additional six active sites would be between $124,000 to $130,000,” Delaney reported.

She showed total waste site operating costs for the sites have been between $650,000 and $677,000 over the past three years. The costs include wages and benefits, site disposal cost and site operating costs.

Total revenue for all of the waste sites for 2019 brought in by landfill attendants was $298,140.

Charging for brush at waste sites will help balance costs to chip it at Ameliasburgh, South Marysburgh and Sophiasburgh. The annual cost of chipping, Delaney said, ranges from $85,000 to $150,000.

“Brush is one of the most common types of waste to come into these three sites and staff recommend the County introduce a fee ranging from $5 to $15 per load, capped at $15 to recover some cost for one of the most expensive types of waste each year to manage,” her report states.

The County is also considering weigh scales to increase revenue and eliminate discrepancies between charges and load sizes at some, or all, of the sites.

“Initial quotes for weigh scales for a typical transfer station weigh scale indicate a purchase price in the range of $19,000 – $30,000, instruments for the use of the scale in the $5,000 – $5,500 price range, installation in the $7,000-$9,000 price range, and foundation cost up to $30,000,” she reported. “Prior to the 2021 budget deliberations, staff are recommending a report be brought forward to council outlining the information needed for the consideration of this item.”

Another common public concern is for enforcement of “dumping” trash in public spaces or along roadsides.

“There is a per bag fee for garbage/littering included in our bylaw, however, when litter is found, the county is only able to issue this charge/fine if there is a witness to the act, or if they are caught in the act, That said, if the personal who has been issued the charge chooses not to pay the fee, this charge cannot be further enforced for payment.”

Staff recommend a strengthened bylaw with a fixed fine, including multiple offences. The bylaw would have to be approved by the Solicitor General after a legal review. Staff propose to bring this back to council before the 2021 budget.

“In 2019, the County’s customer service phone line logged 66 calls reporting garbage or dumping either along a roadside, on public property, or along the Millennium Trail – all of which staff reponded to,” she said.

Council decided to nix a $20 annual pass for taxpayers to use at the dump, citing costs, administration and the fact some renters may never see the benefit if the homeowners don’t pass it along.

Based on 13,000 households, if all the $20 vouchers were used, the cost could be $279,000.

As the County’s curbside garbage and compost curbside collection contract is set to expire Sept. 30, a new tender has been released which addresses concerns from mechanical breakdowns forcing cancelled and delayed pickups and adds a penalty schedule.

“Additionally, all tender respondents have been requested to separate the collection and disposal costs in the new tender – currently these costs are together. This would allow the County in the future, to estimate cost savings should the request come forward to change the frequency of curbside collection.”

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  1. Rob #2 says:

    I don’t tend to object to reasonable user fees.

    But I do question why they are no longer seem to be burning the brush at the sites.

    In recent years the amount of dried out brush and wood at Demorestville became more of a mountain than a pile. This accumulated probably over more than a year and had some kid decided to light it on fire on one of our usual gusty days might have burned down part of Demorestville.

    Possibly regular burning with smaller piles would help alleviate the need for all, or some of the chipping.

    Ultimately what will happen is possibly more residents burning at home to save the cost, particularly if they tend to collect lots of it. I’m not sure if that is a great answer either, not everyone is comfortable or familiar enough with burning to do this?

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