Council opts for status quo: rejects collection carts

Unlike their peers in Penticton and Oliver, Osoyoos residents will not have new “yard furniture” next spring after Council this afternoon rejected a waste removal proposal that includes uniform-sized garbage and recycling carts.

Council voted two-to-one — Councillors Mike Campol and Carol Youngberg were not in attendance — to continue a contract with Waste Collections of Canada for the “manual collection” of curbside garbage, recycling and large items.

The decision came after Jim Dinwoodie, the Town’s Director of Operational Services, outlined the various directions other South Okanagan and Similkameen communities were taking as an existing curbside collection contract nears expiration.

“The trend in (the) industry is toward the automated cart curbside collection system since it provides quicker pick up with fewer worker safety issues,” he told Council. “The City of Penticton and the Town of Oliver have decided to implement a cart collection system at this time.

“The Village of Keremeos and the RDOS have decided to remain with a manual collection system.”

And so did Mayor Sue McKortoff and Counc. Jim King.

After voting down a motion made by Counc. CJ Rhodes to begin using a three-cart system — one 120-litre garbage cart, one 240-litre recycling cart and one 240-litre yard and garden waste cart — the two Council members voted in favour of the status quo.

“If it’s not broken, why try to change things?” asked Counc. King.

Mayor McKortoff was concerned with the burden the cart system would place on the community’s older population.

“My concern with going with the cart system is there are many large carts, perhaps on small properties,” she said. “If we add an organic one, that would make for four carts.

“We have a lot of retired people here who have concerns about dragging large carts up and down their driveways.”

Counc. Rhodes, however, wanted Council to be “visionary” about its waste collection efforts.

“It’s absolutely mandatory that we have a vision of the future and where we’re going with things and how things are going to work in the future,” he replied. “Not going with (the carts) is a definite setback, in my mind.”

The Town’s decision follows a March 2017 Request for Proposals issued by the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen and its local government partners.

The RDOS Board of Directors thought that by issuing a common RFP for the waste collection service, some savings might be realized for all the participating partners.

Existing curbside collection contracts for all of involved governments expires on July 1, 2018.

By awarding a new curbside collection contract this July, the partners had hoped to provide the successful contractor sufficient time to acquire any new equipment required to execute this contract.

The request returned four bids.

Before Council voted, Mr. Dinwoodie noted the Town’s recommendation to move to the cart system was “not without controversy.”

“Our current system seems to be working well as it allows residents to rent carts if they so desire, (offers) unlimited yard waste pick up and limits residents to a single bag, which in fact is a smaller amount than the proposed cart.”

The cart system does provide advantages, he added, including improved worksafe practices for employees and increased monitoring of what goes in the trash and what is being recycled.

The cart system also provides an easier transition to organics composting, he said.

“In the future there will probably be a need for a system of organics composting and compulsory use of carts will assist with this transition.”

Mayor McKortoff noted, however, that homes in the Regional District — which surrounds the Town — would not be using carts.

“It could be a little bit confusing if one side of the street was with carts and one wasn’t,” she said.

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