Trash cans back on the county agenda with the option to vote on size

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Depending on the result of the vote, residents will be able to exchange their bins for different sizes by February 2022 at the earliest

Editor’s Note: The following does not apply to residents of the City of Barrie, which operates its own waste management.

Simcoe County councilors will attend a workshop next week to allay concerns over the controversial new automated trolley waste collection system, less than a week before the program rolls out.

As part of the Simcoe County workshop on Oct. 26, councilors will decide whether the county should offer other cart size options for residents in the future, and will have the opportunity to bring directly to the staff attention a myriad of concerns expressed by residents. in the public forum.

According to the 27-page staff report for the workshop, the estimated cost to offer alternative sizes will be between $ 2-4 million for the first year, with ongoing annual operating costs estimated at $ 1.1 million. dollars.

In the report, solid waste management manager Rob McCullough estimates that the actual number of exchanges that would be required would be between 5 and 12% of the units served. The costs will vary depending on the options chosen by the departmental council on Tuesday.

The main decision to be made at Tuesday’s meeting will be for the board to choose between three options as the way forward:

  • either to allow accelerated basket exchanges (Option 1),
  • wait to make a decision based on the results of a user survey to be completed within six months and the Briar’s pilot project (Option 2),
  • or not to authorize basket exchanges (Option 3).

After voting for one of the three options, further options will be voted on by councilors regarding hiring staff / extending contracts of existing staff to implement changes, determine eligibility rules for exchanges and create self-service technology to facilitate trade.

If Option 1 is voted on by the board, the staff report says the earliest size exchanges could begin would be from mid-February to the end of February and would depend on other decisions made at Tuesday’s meeting.

One man’s trash is another man’s problem (or how we got here)

In June 2020, the county council approved the switch to the new automated cart collection system as part of a possible $ 31.5 million contract that will be implemented at the end of 2021. The collection contract was awarded to Miller Waste Services.

After negotiations at the time, Willma Bureau, the county’s contracts and collections supervisor, said costs were estimated to be 28% lower than expected.

In November 2020, the county council voted in favor of choosing Rehrig Pacific to manufacture the carts, deciding to get 240-liter garbage carts, 360-liter recycling carts and organics carts from 120 liters for all Simcoe County property owners.

At that time, several councilors raised concerns such as the size of the garbage cans, the way people living in townhouses were supposed to put the garbage cans in already small spaces, the way residents of rural areas were supposed to hang out. larger trash cans, how the disposal of old trash cans would play out, how the county would fix broken bins, and how the locking mechanisms would work to keep animals out.

In April, county councilors approved the implementation of a waste collection pilot project in New Tecumseth, which would give condo owners in Green Briar / Briar Hill the option of opting for a smaller trolley. .

This summer, when all residents received letters from Simcoe County regarding the new system, many began to voice similar concerns, with some asking for smaller cart options. In Collingwood, a petition was started in July by residents of the Blue Fairway subdivision asking for smaller cart options and was sent to manager George Cornell.

Soon after, a petition started by Collingwood resident Dave Dickson (who currently has 2,875 signatures) toured several community Facebook groups in Collingwood, Wasaga Beach, Essa Township and beyond in a local effort. to lobby for other bin sizing options. for automated waste collection, and was also sent to Director Cornell.

Neither petition is mentioned in the workshop staff report.

The downtown Collingwood Business Improvement Zone (BIA) also raised concerns that the new bins will create accessibility, cleaning and snow removal issues in many downtown spaces.

Carts began shipping to Simcoe County from August. Curbside collection using the new automated system begins November 1.

All eligible residences and businesses are expected to have received three new garbage carts by October 23. If your household or business has not received your carts by then, contact the Simcoe Service Contact Center at 1-800-263-3199.

Beginning November 1, residents can drop off old curbside recycling bins until March 31, 2022 at any waste disposal facility in Simcoe County free of charge.

The County of Simcoe Special Waste Management Workshop for Council will be held on October 26 at 11 a.m. The meeting can be viewed live by the public on the Simcoe County YouTube channel here.

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