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Fort Saskatchewan Votes in an Organics Pilot Project

By on April 12, 2014
Organics pilot project

Exactly what’s downed one week will be carried through the next.

A minimum of that held true with the city government’s pitch for an organic-recycling-waste pickup pilot job for the Fort.

The program, very first presented to council at the March 25 meeting when it was voted down, went back to council on Tuesday. Now that it has been authorized, 1,000 homes will be part of a 20-month pilot task that will see homeowners separate their garbage, reusing and organics into 3 different containers.

“In terms of the 2014 leading 3 locations to reside in Canada, amongst those were St. Albert, Calgary and Strathcona County– all at the top,” said Brad MacDonald, manager with the City’s utilities division.

“And all of these communities have a separated organics collection program, and all of these neighborhoods utilize some form of mechanical pickup. That certainly does not make them the very best, but ingenious methods of collecting waste is something that makes us a sustainable neighborhood and a better neighborhood.”.

On an economic level, MacDonald stated there are benefits to be seen, especially in the long term.

“As trash and garbage dump ends up being more expensive, those trucks need to go further, the area that they have is limited– those costs are just going to go up,” he said.

“We have actually seen those expenses increase by over 150 per cent in 10 years and they’re going to continue to go up. Organic and recycling expenses are going to increase, however they’re going to go up slower because of the value of resources in that. As brand-new centers come on board to develop biofuels and to develop other alternative markets, those expenses are going to be (more stable)… The long-term economics will just improve over time.”.

In complete, the job will cost $310,000 for 9 months in 2014, and another $375,000 for 11 months in 2015. These costs include payment for the curbside collection bins, arrangement of a truck geared up for automated pick-up of carts, other set-up costs, and the forecasted savings from waste diversion.

Robin Benoit, with the City’s utilities department, kept in mind there is a $12,500 savings by diverting organics to processing centres rather than land fills, however MacDonald discussed the cost savings would be countered by additional costs.

“Till we start to see an increasing number of per ton saved, the face cost of needing to run the truck for a third waste stream, that cost still surpasses the amount that you conserve– despite the fact that you are saving by diverting (to the processing center),” MacDonald said.

The money to spend for the pilot task will originate from City reserve funds, which did not sit well with Mayor Gale Katchur.

“It really does not make sense to me. Numerous other towns are currently doing this, and to me it feels like we’re recreating this,” she stated of the pilot project.

“I would most likely be more comfy in saying we’ll role it out city-wide, we’ll take the $350,000, that will pay for your bins– since I’m truly opposed to using reserve funds that ought to be made use of for capital projects in contrast to moneying a program for this period of time. I think I’m just having a tough time ingesting this tablet. For me, we are attempting to recreate something. These trash contractors are doing it in other municipalities currently.”.

Katchur kept in mind there are too many questions left unanswered.

“I have actually reviewed both of these reports and they’re generally ‘trust me’ reports– ‘Believe me, people are going to like this,’ Believe me, if we take money from reserves, we can work our means through this,'” she stated.

Not all of council agreed, with Coun. Birgit Snowstorm noting she is excited about the pilot task.

“I believe to be a forward-thinking city, we have to do things like this. If you look around, all our next-door neighbors are doing it,” she stated.

“We should not have to wait up until suddenly, Alberta needs to step down and say we need to do it. Let’s try it. A thousand houses is a terrific method to see for a year-and-a-half … the drawbacks, the upsides, what we can enhance on before it’s rolled out. I’m absolutely for this.”.

Coun. Stew Hennig took the issue one action further, noting he spoke with members of surrounding towns that currently use the service, and discovered few complaints.

“In Strathcona County, the one recipient– a single woman with a canine– stated ‘It works fantastic 99 per cent of the time. It’s just when I do my yard, they will not get the bags sitting next to the (container) so I still need to carry those to the dump or the composting area.'” he recalled, adding: “They all assumed that eventually for the world, it was a good idea.”.

At the end of the argument, council voted 5-2 in favor of presenting the pilot task, with Katchur and Coun. Frank Garritsen opposing.

City of Yellowknife did it and got an award for it!

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