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City of Powell River in process of distributing new garbage carts

Automated program will begin during week after Thanksgiving
NEW SYSTEM: City of Powell River is in the process of delivering 5,800 garbage carts to all city residents for use with the automated garbage trucks. The 132-litre carts have capacity for the equivalent of two garbage bags, and will be put into use the week of October 12. The new carts will eliminate the need for garbage tags for any refuse that is stored in the carts.

City of Powell River has started delivering the carts and informational brochures to launch the automated curbside collection program for its solid waste services.

Manager of operational services Rod Fraser, speaking at the September 21 committee of the whole meeting, said he wanted to give the committee and the community an update on the waste carts program.

“The waste carts are here,” said Fraser. “We’ve had 6,300 arrive, so 5,800 of those will go out to residents of Powell River and the remaining 500 will be kept here in stock for new residents, or for second bins.

“The carts are going out on the street now. By Monday [September 20], we had just a little more than 1,000 out of those 5,800. They will be done in a couple of weeks.”

Fraser said along with the carts, there is an informational brochure for residents. He said there is extra staff in the office taking phone calls and answering questions from those who have queries about the program.

There is a contractor delivering the carts to residents, said Fraser, and city staff are working with the contractor to deliver them.

“Quite often, we’re getting folks coming out to see what is happening and they speak to our staff about the carts,” said Fraser. “Our staff have been able to answer questions.”

Fraser said launch day for the new service is just after Thanksgiving. He said the week of October 12, on regular garbage days, is when residents can actually start using their new waste carts.

The carts have a 132-litre capacity, which is sufficient for the equivalent to two garbage bags, according to Fraser. He said the city is asking that residents put the carts curbside with the arrows facing the street. The carts should be placed at the curb, or if there isn’t one, at the edge of the pavement.

Operators require space

Truck operators will need at least three feet of space all the way around the bin so the hydraulic arm on the truck can reach out and grab it safely without contacting something like a car.

People can use bags in the cart if they choose and Fraser said it’s recommended having a bag to keep the cart clean.

“It’s the homeowner’s responsibility to keep them clean,” he added.

Fraser said the bins are tough and easy to move.

The garbage tag system will essentially end when the carts come into use, said Fraser. However, if residents have garbage that doesn’t fit into the bin, they can leave additional bags out for collection, at a cost of $5 per bag.

“You don’t need tags for garbage in the cart,” said Fraser.

Councillor Cindy Elliott said she received her bin and was happy to have it. She said she had heard questions from people in the community regarding bear damage. She asked if the homeowner would have to pay for a new bin if a bear damages a cart.

Fraser said for wildlife, the city is asking people not to put out their garbage the night before collection day. He said there has not been an experience of bear damage to the organics carts the city maintains. If there is bear damage to a cart, Fraser said the homeowner can reach out and the department will follow up.

Elliott also asked if there was a plan for people with mobility challenges.

Fraser said the city has a list of people with mobility challenges and if people want to make an application, they can reach out to the department.

Councillor Maggie Hathaway said after 13 years on council, one of the things that has bugged her the most is garbage tags.

“I have never liked the system and I’ll be glad to see it gone,” she said. “I’m hopeful that we’ll see a lot less garbage thrown in the bushes and strewn about or taken to commercial bins in the harbour. I’m very happy with this program.”

Councillor George Doubt said he has also received a cart. He said he has used his last garbage tag and he is really happy it’s his last.

“I agree with councillor Hathaway, and I think this is going to clean up the community,” said Doubt.

According to chief financial officer Adam Langenmaier, the new carts cost $408,552. He said the city received three bids to supply and deliver 6,300 carts. The budget for this project was $504,000, with 50 per cent funding coming from community works fund (gas tax) and 50 per cent coming from prior year surplus, according to Langenmaier.