Town councillors have spoken loud and clear —they want nothing to do with a Niagara Region proposal to institute every-other-week garbage collection or make clear plastic garbage bags mandatory.
On Monday night, the town’s committee of the whole tossed the region’s suggestions in the bin.
It was Coun. Clare Cameron who had concerns with the region’s report and asked to make an addition to it.
“In this situation, we’re going to go down the path where the public will pay the same amount of taxes and receive half as much service,” she said.
As a mother with young children, Cameron said she has to experience “diapers and they don’t stop.”
“There are lots of families for whom end-of-week garbage collection would be a very difficult challenge. And for whom clear bags would also be a very unpleasant experience for their neighbours,” she said.
“And we also know there are aging people in our community who sometimes also have their own continence issues and I don’t want to get into particulars of people’s personal situations but that is one of the reasons why I will put forward a proposed edition.”
Coun. Erwin Wiens said bi-weekly garbage collection wouldn’t work for farmers who might have bags full of garbage and he also had concerns about the privacy.
Coun. Allan Bisback said he didn’t believe in using clear bags because there was no need for it from local residents.
If the town approved clear bags and EOW collection, there would be no cost savings, said Coun. Wendy Cheropita.
“Even with the reduced service levels, the increase in wages is going to neutralize that so there is going to be no change. I think the residents have spoken loudly and I would not be in favour of supporting this,” she said.
According to the survey results conducted by the region in the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake, 36.9 per cent of online respondents – or 101 people out of 274 – said they definitely wouldn’t support using clear garbage bags.
During a telephone survey, 25.8 per cent (323 people out of 1,253) said they would definitely support a switch to clear garbage bags.
For Coun. Norm Arsenault, there were no problems going with the every-other-week garbage collection.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero said she also had concerns using clear bags but, like Arsenault, she would vote against changing the recommendation.
Brad Whitelaw, Niagara region’s program manager for policy and planning, then addressed the committee and said using clear garbage bags will be a motivator for residents to divert.
“It’s keeping the residents accountable for what they’re putting inside the bag,” he said.
People shouldn’t be putting organics or hazardous waste in the recycling, he said, adding collection contractors will not collect bins containing non-recycling waste.
Whitelaw provided an example of how the city of Markham saw a six per cent increase in diversion since the start of the program.
“We want Niagara to be at the forefront. [The city of Markham] is at 80 per cent of diversion right now and we’re at 56 per cent.”
When it came to voting, five councillors – J. Wiens, Cheropita, Cameron, E. Wiens and Burroughs – were in favour of the revised recommendation.
Municipalities will have until Feb. 20, 2019 to make final comments to the region before the contract is approved. The tender will be awarded in 2020 with the contract start time scheduled for 2021.