Make the most of curbside garbage collection open house

It's a rare occurrence when elected representatives can bring an initiative to the community that will result in a lower cost for a service

It is a somewhat rare occurrence when local government elected representatives can bring an initiative to the community that will result in a lower cost for a service, lower than we already pay today.

This is just one benefit of the CVRD’s plan to modernize and automate the curbside recycling and garbage collection service in the electoral areas.

The CVRD will be hosting an open house on this matter on Wednesday, Aug. 29, at 7 p.m. at the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena in the multipurpose room, in Lake Cowichan.

This meeting is the first of four throughout the Cowichan Valley and will be explaining the details of what is being proposed, seeking input and answering questions from residents, and providing us the opportunity to get our hands on the new easy-roll hinged totes that will be going to each home in Electoral Areas F and I.

There are four key questions, among many, the CVRD staff will be prepared to address Wednesday evening at the open house.

Firstly, why now?

More communities throughout B.C. are modernizing and automating their curbside collection service to take advantage of operating efficiencies of this new model.

Secondly, what are the expected benefits?

Other than the projected lower cost mentioned above, the easy-roll hinged totes (including one bear-proof tote for garbage) will be delivered to each resident’s home at no extra cost.

Third, how will the proposed new system work?

One key point is that the new automated collection truck can service approximately 900 homes per shift, or about 50 per cent more than the old and outdated manual system, while all but eliminating the injuries the operators currently suffer from all that manual lifting.

Fourth, why is the Alternative Approval Process (AAP) required?

This modernization plan will require the purchase of new, automated, robotic arm equipped, dual compartment collection trucks, as well as the new easy-roll hinged totes each home receives at no charge. This will be financed through the Municipal Finance Authority at preferred rates available to local governments only.

Borrowing of this type requires taxpayer approval before it can proceed. I have often stated before that I don’t support AAPs in principle. However, the only other way to obtain taxpayer consent is by referendum. An electoral area wide referendum would be very costly, and would likely cancel out the cost savings the modernized and automated curbside collection plan would achieve.

I want to make it very clear to everyone that this is in no way to be considered a done deal by anyone’s definition.

I will also state that while I am not an expert on all aspects of curbside collection programs or solid waste management, I can say that the answers to my many questions so far have led me to be supportive of what the CVRD’s solid waste staff has proposed to this point.

It is important to me to hear your input and questions and that is in part why Area I director Pat Weaver and I have asked for the first open house to take place in our area, so that your views can be considered early on in the process.

Please come out Wednesday at 7 p.m. to the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, in Lake Cowichan, to find out more about the CVRD’s plan to modernize our curbside garbage and recycling collection. In the meantime, check out the website at: www.zerowastecowichan.ca/curbside.