There’s going to be a lot of trash-talk around the City of Rossland for the next few months.
The city’s launched a consultation and public study of its how waste management system works.
“We’re just interested in hearing what the community wants, as it’s the municipality’s job to provide services, and we try to provide the services people want,” says Mayor Kathy Moore. “And we’ve heard quite a bit of grumbling about garbage.”
So the city hired a consultant to look at the issue, and held an open house last night to gather ideas from the public.
Among the issues being reviewed are how similar-sized municipalities deliver their waste services, the role of recyclables and organics in the system, the kind of containers being used, overall satisfaction with current waste disposal, and how the system can be improved.
They’re also doing a review of the financial impact of the service.
Currently the city contracts out its own garbage pickup, while recycling is managed by the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
Moore says she’s heard from many people that the system isn’t effective in some areas.
“We say we want to be very bear aware, but we still kind of aren’t,” she says as an example. “We say we want to reduce plastic, but we still put a lot of plastic out in the garbage.
“But there are other ways to deal with garbage, so we’d like people’s input on what they like to see.”
She notes in some cities recycling is picked up every week, while garbage is picked up twice a week — the opposite of what happens in Rossland now. Some cities use big barrels and don’t use plastic bags, while still others use communal bins. In some places organic material — compostable food waste, for instance — is collected, and the idea’s being considered by the RDKB.
“Garbage is a huge deal. Landfills all across Canada are filling up,” says Moore. “We need to be smart about how we deal with garbage.”
The review comes at a time when the city has a window of opportunity to make changes to its waste disposal system. The city’s contract with its waste management service was to end in January, but for the review has been extended to next summer.
Moore says there are a lot of questions because the issue hasn’t really had a hard look in some time.
“It’s one of these things that we don’t know the answer to,” she says. “People may come out and say, ‘you know, it’s perfectly good the way it is, and just leave it.’
“That could be the answer, but it’s always good to go out and look at what the options are.”
Moore says any new plans or ideas will also have to prove themselves affordable to taxpayers. Right now waste disposal costs the city roughly $90,000 annually, says city CAO Bryan Teasdale.
Moore says she hopes some good initiatives will come out of the public input.
“People say you’re not going to change the world by not using a plastic bag,” she says. “But you’re also not going to change the world if you sit there and do nothing.
“Every little bit helps.”
If you couldn’t make the open house, residents are still welcome to participate in the online-survey at rossland.ca/node/4536