By ROY WOOD
In a narrow three-to-two decision, Oliver council moved into the world of modern waste collection Monday, approving a staff recommendation to adopt an automated-cart system starting next summer.
In July 2018, homeowners will be provided with three wheeled containers for their refuse: one for garbage; one for recycling; and one for garden waste. The carts are designed to be left near the roadway so that a truck with a lifting device can mechanically collect the contents.
The central issue of contention at Monday’s council meeting was whether to switch to the automated carts or to continue with the current manual system.
Councillors Petra Veintimilla and Jack Bennest voted to stay manual while Councillors Mo Doerr and Larry Schwartzenberger preferred the carts. Mayor Ron Hovanes broke the tie in favour of modernization.
The issue came to council as staff is working with other jurisdictions to finalize a new seven-year contract for refuse collection with Waste Collections of Canada (WCC, formerly BFI Canada Inc.) According to chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan, WCC needs a year to order required new equipment. The current contract ends June 30, 2018.
Cowan told council that WCC was the best of four bids submitted for the seven-year contract between it and Oliver, Osoyoos, Penticton, Keremeos, Summerland and the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen.
Schwartzenberger said: “The cart system seems to be the future.” He asked if it’s possible that Oliver might be the only jurisdiction selecting that option.
Cowan said Penticton has decided to go with the automated cart system. The RDOS and the town of Osoyoos are staying with manual collection. Summerland has yet to decide and Keremeos will be covered by the RDOS decision.
She said RDOS cited capital costs as the main reason for deciding against automation. In Osoyoos, she said, public reaction to a test of the automated system was very negative.
Her report said that surveys done by the RDOS indicated “that most people (in Oliver) would be okay with the program if pricing didn’t change or there was a minor change. Some concern was raised with respect to the storage space (for the carts) and winter conditions, but most people in the town do not have long driveways.”
Arguing against the cart option, Bennest asked: “Don’t we want to reduce the amount of garbage? If the (garbage) container is bigger than one bag, we’ll be increasing the amount of garbage.”
According to Cowan’s report, there will be no increase in the annual $110 residential collection fee as a result of the new contract, which is worth $261,095 per year to WCC. The capital cost of the carts is included in the contract price.
The contractor is responsible for the purchase, delivery and maintenance of the carts including fixing broken ones and replacing those that are stolen.
Garbage carts will have a capacity of 120 litres while recycling and yard waste bins will be 240 litres each.