By ROY WOOD
A decision by the town of Summerland has forced Oliver council to reverse a June initiative toward a modern, cart-based system for residential garbage, recycling and yard waste pickup.
Chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan told council on Tuesday that for Oliver to move to automated collection while partner municipalities retain manual collection would simply be too expensive.
She asked for and received council’s blessing to change the focus of contract talks with Waste Collections of Canada (WCC, formerly BFI Canada Inc.) over a new seven-year contract to start in summer 2018. The new contract will be for manual collections, not the automated, cart-based process.
Key to the change of heart by senior staff, which originally recommended a move to the carts, was a recent decision by Summerland to stick with manual collection. Osoyoos, Keremeos and the regional district had already opted to stay manual.
Cowan said in an interview that if Summerland had opted for the cart system, a single automated truck would have been able to collect four days a week there and one day in Oliver. But, without Summerland, the entire capital cost of the modern truck would have fallen to Oliver.
Cart-based waste collection is seen as the future of the industry as better worker safety and more stringent recycling requirements evolve.
The system as envisaged for Oliver would have seen separate, wheeled containers for garbage, recycling and yard waste. The carts would have been mechanically hoisted and emptied at the roadside into the trucks.
Cowan said that any residents who wish to use wheeled carts may rent them from WCC. The current trucks are able to accommodate both automated and manual collection.