By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
A survey will be going out to determine how Coaldale residents want their garbage collected.
During their regular May 28 meeting, Coaldale town council discussed rear waste pick-up in town.
Currently in the Town of Coaldale, garbage, recycling and composting bins can be collected in either the front of a home or in the laneway behind a home. According to the town’s solid waste bylaw, bins must be moved back onto your property by 7 p.m. on the day of garbage pickup.
Unfortunately, the town is finding that a lot of houses with laneway pickup are just leaving their bins in the laneway on a permanent basis.
In a report to council, Cindy L’Hironelle, manager of development & environmental services, highlighted some of the positives and negatives of both laneway and front bin pickup.
Some negatives of laneway pickup included issues with load maintain and snow removal, while some positives less heavy vehicle traffic on the streets and one section of gravel lane 305m in length and 11.5m — roughly one block — will cost approximately $50,000 to rebuild, some of this work could be performed with the Towns own staff, whereas a paved road of the same dimensions will cost approximately $350,000 to replace, and would need to be contracted out.
The report suggested that should council choose, they could create a resident survey to gauge public response to front vs. rear garbage/recycling/composting pick-up.
“It would be, I guess, to see people’s thoughts were on it. To do the transition, I guess, for a survey, just for the transition, it wouldn’t really work, you would just rule it out,” said L’Hironelle.
“The survey would be more to ask, get answers for some questions whether people want bylaw to enforce it, moving the bins back in, if you want front pickup of you currently have rear, that sort of thing.”
Town CAO Kalen Hastings said the survey’s intent would be to share the town’s assessment of the pros and cons of rear vs. front pickup.
“There’s quite a few elements to it. For example, this last winter, big snow drifts in the alleys made it really hard to pick up in the laneways, and we don’t do snow removal in the alleys,” said Hastings.
“That’s just one example of the different layers of operation that this can effect. If nothing else, it’s not just flipping a coin, going ‘front, rear’, there’s a lot of different reasons for it, and if we were to do a survey, at least give that information along with the survey, so people can give some informed feedback.”
Mayor Kim Craig said he was in favour of a survey, saying it was important to “gauge that kind of idea”.
Coun. Roger Hohm said he “struggled” with the idea of a survey, arguing that if they asked if people wanted front pick-up, back pick-up, or for it to remain the same, people will want to continue with what they currently have, whether “it’s in the town’s best interest or not”.
“If we do have a survey, I don’t want to see a question on there, ‘Do you want to stay with what we have right now, or do you want front or do you want rear?’. I think the only question we need to put on there is, ‘If we changed, what is the impact to you’, give us some details as to why they feel it’s important to stay at the front or stay at the back,” said Hohm.
“A yes or no question on front or rear, I don’t think gives us any more information then what we probably have right now, and me? I would rather depend on administration to come up with the best ideas and the best reasons why we need to make a change. If administration can convince me, then I would certainly accept that before I would accept the results of a survey that says ‘Do you want to stay where you’re at?’.”
Coun. Henry ‘Butch’ Pauls said he agreed with Hohm. Craig also agreed that a yes-or-no survey was not the way to go.
Hastings assured council that they weren’t going to go that route.
“It’s more we’ve done an assessment, here’s the different elements, we are analyzing our waste collection program, and front vs. rear is one of the dimensions. We want to get a sense what people’s thoughts are on that and share with them the different dimensions we’ve already identified with internally,” said Hastings.
“A lot of times, you get good insights you may miss as staff. People, they know their waste collection habits very well, and sometimes, they share some good insights that can help us make a better decision or recommendation.”
Administration proposed three recommendations: council changes all residential solid waste pick up locations to the front of the properties except for on Parkside Close and Parkside Drive, effective July 2; council directs staff to prepare and deliver a resident survey in advance of making a decision; or council keeps all pic-up locations the same.
Council passed a motion that they direct staff to prepare and deliver a resident survey in advance of making a decision on the change from rear to front pick-up in a 5-1 split vote. Pauls was opposed to the motion, and coun. Abrey was absent from the meeting.