Rossland council agreed to partner with Natural Control Alternatives (NCA) at their council meeting on June 20, and install two bear proof garbage bins at the Rossland Arena parking lot.
NCA had been requesting that the city provide a community-wide accessible bear-proof garbage bin at the arena since 2019 after the Ministry of Transportation asked NCA to remove the bear bins from MoT property at the Rossland Museum lot.
The ministry reconsidered and allowed the bins to remain, but with the caveat that the city take responsibility for all permits.
The not for profit NCA group recently removed the last bear bin from a Trail location because users failed to pay adequate suggested fees of $5 per bag.
According to NCA, public use was more than expected at the Rossland Museum, and required twice weekly emptying at a cost between $1,400 to $1,700 per month, and the site was kept clean by NCA volunteers. NCA also noted that the tip box attached, which was $4 originally and is currently now $5 per bag, more than covered the cost of service.
Council revisited the request at its June 6 meeting asking staff to explore options of installing two bins at the arena and provide information and costs.
Staff reported that a 2019 survey indicated that almost 80 per cent of residents were satisfied with the current method of garbage collection and a majority, 68 per cent, content with current fees. Also, considering the upcoming curbside organics bin collection project for 2023, there were questions as to its relevance.
Staff provided two options: Option 1: Place a bin(s) at the arena parking lot in the City of Rossland until October 2022, where NCA will cover costs for the new bin and the city will provide the location, some additional staff monitoring, and possible financial coverage if the donations do not cover the tipping fees (approx. $5,000-$8,000 in total).
Or Option 2: Do not place bins in the City of Rossland limits and continue with the current program at the museum.
Coun. Terry Miller made a motion to select option 1 saying, “It sounds like it’s feasible with some costs attached, but I think it’s going to be a good experiment.”
Coun. Janice Nightingale questioned the timing suggesting the service was redundant.
“We are making a very reactive decision here, based on some loud voices we’ve heard on social media,” said Nightingale. “I am a little challenged on costing taxpayers an extra eight grand for a service they are already paying for.”
Coun. Stewart Spooner suggested having a surveillance camera at the site to ensure no one abuses the privilege or fails to pay the fee.
“I think we should at least set ourselves up for success in that respect, and another one is if it’s actually popular, is it going to get dumped on a regular basis? That’s my other concern.”
According to an agreement between NCA and the city, the NCA will supply the bins, collect and pay tipping fees, and monitor the site on a daily basis.
One bin will be removed from the Museum program and placed at the arena parking lot. Another bin will be delivered from Trail.
The City will also assist with security. The program is temporary and will be reviewed at the time of expected bin removal in the fall of 2022.
Council passed the motion to go with Option 1 with only Nightingale against.