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Organics, blue bag collection to remain the same

Minimal cost savings for reduction of service, staff report

By: Victoria Paterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jun 18, 2014 06:00 am

NEW DEAL, SAME SCHEDULE – After considering other options, the city will continue to collect organic waste once a week from May to November and every two weeks from November to May.
NEW DEAL, SAME SCHEDULE – After considering other options, the city will continue to collect organic waste once a week from May to November and every two weeks from November to May.
FILE PHOTO/St. Albert Gazette

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Organic waste and recycling collection frequency in St. Albert will stay the same.

The city recently awarded its blue bag and organic collection tenders after a competitive bid process.

As part of the process, a reduction in service levels was explored as a result of a council direction to do so.

Organics are currently collected weekly from May to November and once every two weeks for the rest of the year. The alternative considered would have gone to once-a-month collection from November to May.

Blue bag collection is currently weekly year round and the alternative looked at would have switched to once every two weeks.

“The competitive tender process was a good exercise,” said Christian Benson, solid waste programs co-ordinator for the city.

The savings from reducing the service levels would have been about $42,000 a year for organic collection and about $44,000 a year for blue bag collection. Benson said those were considered minimal savings – about a 5.6 per cent overall decrease in contracted costs – compared to the service-level reduction.

Coun. Sheena Hughes, who had prompted the motions directing staff to look at options, wasn’t convinced the savings would be so low.

“The numbers just don’t jive. I could see 25 per cent,” she said, noting the estimated 4.5 per cent reduction in curbside recycling collection contract costs seems low.

Some residents are unhappy with the current garbage collection system, Hughes said, and those who want to divert garbage will find a way without being forced. She suggested it’s an insult to residents to force them.

“This doesn’t solve the long-term problem of where people are unhappy,” Hughes said.

Coun. Cathy Heron took the opposite stance, saying there needs to be behaviour changes.

“I think it’s been clearly said, yes we might save a small amount of money … but for a significant drop in service, so I don’t really see the advantage in changing anything,” Heron said, adding she was concerned St. Albert’s waste diversion rates might drop if organic and recycling collection were reduced.

Council heard the contract is for three years with options for extensions.

The vote to maintain current service levels for organics and blue bag recycling collections passed unanimously.


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