By Nikki Jamieson
Sunny South News
Coaldale town council has directed their peace officers to enforce the town’s solid waste bylaw as they consider waste bin pick-up options.
During their regular July 9 meeting, Coaldale town council reviewed the results of a survey over the town’s waste pick-up system.
The public survey, which was held online and in paper form from June 11-25, asked questions such as if they had a garage to store their waste bind and how a change in location would affect them. The response rate for the survey was 424 households or responses out of a potential 3,3000 households, which is about 13 per cent of all households n Coaldale that receive waste services from the town. Cam Mills, manager of economic and community development with the town, said that it was a “fairly strong” response rate for a household survey.
According to the results of the survey, 67 per cent of respondents had rear pick up. When asked how a change in pick-up location would affect them, 65 per cent replied negatively, 24 per cent said not at all and 11 per cent said positively. When asked what type of garage they had, 48 per cent indicated attached garage, 27 a detached, rear garage, two a attached rear garage and 23 per cent said they did not have a garage. When asked if they stored their bins in the garage, 63 per cent indicated no, 15 yes and 22 didn’t have a garage.
Mills made three recommendation to council; council changes all residential solid waste pick up locations to the front of the properties except for Parkside Close and Parkside Drive, to be effective by the end of August; they keep the residential solid waste pick ups in the current locations and have their peace officers enforce Section 20 (b) of Bylaw 737-R-12-17; or they keep the residential solid waste pick up locations in the current locations and have no enforcement of solid waste bins being removed from their collection location.
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, and can’t be put out no earlier then 7 p.m. the day before.
Mayor Kim Craig voiced his support of the second recommendation, noting they can’t have a bylaw and not enforce it.
Coun. Henry ‘Butch’ Pauls said he preferred the first recommendation. In addition to people just leaving bins in the alleyways, he said that the trucks that
“Those big trucks trying to navigate through the alleys, we’ve seen what happens, they smash into fences,” said Pauls. “They can’t help it. Our alleys are getting fixed, but I think they need, probably at least a year of actually working on, to get them where they’re solid enough so that when they go across there with they’re panel maximum trucks, that they just don’t dig them all up like in this spring.”
Coun. Doreen Lloyd said that as people don’t want to change from rear pick –up, option 2 will give them give them an incentive to put their bins away if they want to keep their rear pick up.
Coun. Jacen Abrey asked, due to the high response rate, if there was a way to track the IP addresses for the respondents, as there could be multiple submissions coming from one household.
“I noticed in the comments, a lot of the comments are very similar,” said Abrey. “It almost seems like they’re coming from the same household or encourage from somebody in that same household.”
Mills said he could speak to what was done for this survey, he knew in the past they had to ability to track and make certain that there wasn’t a high number of the same responses coming from the same households, and on this survey, there was no “obvious example” of it happening here.
Coun. Roger Hohm asked for some clarification on what the town CAO Kalen Hastings meant when he cautioned council to go slowly when it came to enforcing the bylaw, as he felt they should have “strong enforcement very quickly on this, to ensure that we’re making the right decision”.
“We’ve tried enforcement blitzes in the past, they are quite labour intensive. I don’t know that necessarily finding and taking bins away is the best method,” said Hastings. “My point was directed to, more of option two, where there’s a lot of ways of what enforcement can mean, and it would be a huge draw on the peace officer resources, which we can do, but it will come at the expense of other initiatives.
“I wanted to have a further discussion with council, where exactly you wanted the service level time allocated, because that would be a big one.”
Pauls said he agreed with Hohm that they need to ensure the bins go back “as soon as possible”, noting that eliminating the empty bins from the alleyways would make it one less obstacle for alleyway traffic.
“When you read all the things (comments), all these people are saying ‘We’re really happy we can just leave them in the back alley’. They figure it’s theirs. It’s not theirs, it’s the town’s,” said Pauls. “We’ve got to get them out of there.”
Mills said that they could table the discussion for a future meeting so that administration can come back with more information, as the “issue is ongoing”, and they could implement an option in the meantime.
Council defeated a motion to table the discussion to a future meeting, with a split 2-5 vote. Craig and Coun. Bill Chapman voted for it, while Lloyd, Hohm, Pauls, coun. Briane Simpson and Abrey voted against.
Council passed a unanimous motion to table the discussion to a future meeting and implement option 2 in the interim.
Note: Cam Mills was originally identified as being a planning advisor with the Oldman River Regional Services Commission (ORRSC), but had recently started working for the Town of Coaldale as the manager of economic and community development. The Sunny South News has updated this story accordingly and apologizes for any confusion.