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St. Albert apartment, condo recycling program delayed

Bylaw amendments won't come before council for at least a year, city says
St. Albertans who live in apartments will need to wait at least another year before they can stop putting food scraps in the garbage. FILE/Photo

Bylaw amendments that would pave the way for a three-stream waste collection program for those who live in apartments and condos in St. Albert will be delayed by at least a year, a city spokesperson confirmed to the Gazette.

Three-stream waste collection refers to garbage, recycling, and organic waste pickup, and is the service level that residents who live in detached homes and some duplexes have. Most apartment and condo buildings in St. Albert only have communal bins for garbage, while a few also have recycling bins.

The bylaw changes, which council unanimously asked administration to bring forward last May, were initially expected to be brought forward to council for approval by the end of March. City spokesperson Pamela Osborne said in an email the amendments won't be in front of council until “at least” this time next year.

Osborne said the delay is a result of “continued program development,” as well as the continued development of the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) program across the province. She did not address questions about whether the delayed bylaw amendments were significant, or if administration planned to do or had already done some type of public engagement about a three-stream collection program.

RELATED: Province unveils new recycling regulations

The bylaw amendments are expected to be similar to those made by Leduc city council at the beginning of March, as well as those approved by Edmonton city council early last year. Leduc's bylaw changes, for example, state multi-family or multi-unit property owners are responsible for providing space and bins for recycling and organic waste, while residents must properly separate their waste to the proper bins.

Coun. Mike Killick, who told the Gazette last April he was prepared to put forward a motion asking for the bylaw amendments before they came as a recommendation from administration just weeks later, said he'd still like to see a three-stream waste collection program implemented in St. Albert prior to the implementation of EPR.

“We want to get it done sooner than later,” Killick said. “But we'll see what administration comes back with.”

In an interview last week, Mayor Cathy Heron said she forgot the amendments were supposed to be coming forward, since on March 19 she submitted an information request asking administration to draft a report with all the necessary bylaw amendments that would enable three-stream waste collection for apartment and condo buildings.

“This came because Leduc is doing it, and [I think] if Leduc can do it we can do it,” she said, adding recycling collection is guaranteed to happen under the EPR program, although the program itself won't require compost (green bin) pick-up.

“I can't tell you how many people who live in houses in St. Albert and then they retire or they move into an apartment for whatever reason, and then they don't get organics collection, and they get frustrated because they're so used to it.”

“Lots of people have been asking for that,” she said.

As part of her information request, Heron also asked administration to list what bylaw amendments would be necessary to force businesses and institutional operations such as schools to separate waste into three streams as well, as has been required in Calgary since 2017.

“A bigger source of waste in Alberta is the industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sector,” Heron said referring to a recent report commissioned by the Edmonton Metropolitan Region Board that posits as much as 75 per cent of the region's land-filled waste is generated by the ICI sector, and about 50 per cent of that waste could be diverted to compost facilities.

The ICI sector covers office buildings, restaurants, schools, retailers, grocery stores, and essentially every property that isn't residential.

“We're talking about it on a regional level, but I'm just trying to push it to see if we can do it a little bit faster,” she said.

READ MORE: EMRB report looks at non-residential organic waste management

Heron said she's partly inspired by Calgary's bylaw, but waste management in general is “such a core municipal service that we can do better on.”

“Changing the bylaw will be the easy part, to tell you the truth,” she said. “The consultation with the ICI sector [will be a significant amount of work].”

“I feel like a lot of them are doing this anyway, because it's the right thing to do ... but I don't want to put any business in hardship by forcing them to do this. But they're paying private companies to get rid of their waste, so we'll just see how it works.”

Killick said he'd be supportive of introducing a three-stream collection program for the ICI sector as well.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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