Waste issue recycled for next Meadow Lake council meeting
by Phil Ambroziak
The new school year is only a few weeks old, but the City of Meadow Lake is already learning all about the three Rs.
In this case, however, reading, writing and arithmetic have been replaced by reducing, reusing and recycling.
During the Sept. 10 city council meeting, further discussion was held with regard to the city’s plans to implement a curb-side recycling program. A revised waste collection bylaw, which includes a biweekly blue box pickup, was expected to receive a second and third reading during the meeting, but not before councillors discussed some of the finer details pertaining to the long-awaited service.
“If this goes ahead, are we going to put a reader-friendly document out to the public to let them know what items can and cannot be recycled?” asked councillor Curtis Paylor.
Interim city manager Richard Levesque said this would likely be the case, but stressed the importance of first establishing an official start date for the service.
Councillor Annette Klassen questioned whether or not the city has received any feedback on the matter from members of the public. Levesque said he has not heard any negative comments, while deputy-mayor Elaine Yaychuk said the responses she has received have been nothing but positive.
“A couple of people have even told me it’s about time we had something like this,” she said.
The new waste collection bylaw, which received its first reading at the Aug. 27 council meeting, includes an $8 per month recycling fee, as well as a monthly garbage pickup charge of $18.75. The service would be provided by Lamon Disposal Ltd.
According to city officials, curb-side recycling is expected to divert up to 50 per cent of the waste currently dumped at the local landfill site.
Accepted recyclables include paper fibre materials such as flattened cardboard, newspapers and flyers, magazines, catalogues, paperback books, letter paper, brown paper bags, telephone books, empty tissue rolls and other related items.
Paylor went on to ask what steps are in place to address matters if there is continued non-compliance from users.
“Is it written in the bylaw?” he asked. “Is it something that would be maintained by drivers?”
Levesque said unacceptable materials would not be picked up, but the household would still be billed for the service.
“If there is blatant, continued abuse, perhaps they could be fined under our general penalties bylaw,” he added.
In terms of the aforementioned start date, Klassen said she would like to see the service begin as soon as possible.
“We should get Lamon’s feedback as to when a good time to start would be,” Levesque said. “We may not want to start it in the middle of January.”
Mayor Gary Vidal suggested deferring the bylaw’s second and third readings until council’s next meeting Sept. 24.
“This way, we can establish the start date after receiving the necessary input and a recommended start date from Lamon,” he said. “We should also consider what kind of communication we can get out to the public, so people clearly understand what their expectations are. That should also come aspart of our decision at the next meeting.”
Meanwhile, Terry Lamon, owner of Lamon Disposal Ltd., reiterated the city’s claim that curb-side recycling is a tremendous means of addressing the amount of garbage piling up at landfill sites.
“The diversion rate is much higher with door-to-door collection,” Lamon said. “We’ve also found out that door-to-door pickup results in a higher level of compliance, opposed to all the extra garbage that often comes in at a single stream depot.”
The recycling service currently provided by Lamon requires residents to deliver their own items to his facility in the Meadow Lake industrial park. The $8 recycling fee proposed by the city would go toward the expenses required for Lamon to provide a recycling truck, bail the recyclables and ship them to All Green Recycling in Saskatoon.
“We also have to supply close to 1,600 carts, which is the same number of garbage carts we have provided,” he said. “Aside from being coloured blue, the recycle bins will look the same as the 96-gallon (U.S.) garbage bins residents are used to.”
As for a recommended start date, Lamon said he could start at any time, as long as he has at least eight weeks’ notice to order, assemble and deliver the carts.
“Time doesn’t really matter to me,” he said. “I have all the equipment I need right here, right now, except for the carts.”