Have garbage cans, will trudge

Garbage, recycling program offers exercise possibilities

The Regional District of Kitimat Stikine’s imposition of a mandatory $200 annual charge to collect my garbage and recyclables upset me and others. Where did the regional board come off deciding what’s best for us.

Why did the board not give us a chance to formally voice our opinions? Did the board fear we’d scuttle their hasty plans? Plans that appear to favour the convenience and conditions demanded by the garbage company.

Bad enough the Area C director who spoke up for his constituents had his referendum motion denied by the board as too expensive; the chairman ruled any referendum about garbage collection in Lakelse Lake and Thornhill Areas C and E would need to be offered to electors in ALL areas from A to G even if they live near the Yukon border or half way to Bella Coola.

This ruling I don’t accept. If in B.C. all areas in a regional district must be allowed to vote on the concerns of single areas the law needs to be changed. The other areas will not be subject to our mandatory garbage pickup; I can’t see them caring whether or not we pay $200 annually, since they won’t be sharing our cost. If the regional district borrows $9 million to build the Forceman Ridge landfill, I doubt the other areas will be taxed to help re-pay our loan.

How many ballots would have to be printed? How much cost would that add to the November election? Yet Areas C and E can’t have a referendum on a sizeable perpetual additional tax. A vote would be too expensive!

Well, sorry, but sometimes democracy can be expensive. And as the L’Oreal ad says, we’re worth it.

I and others sought to sign a last minute petition demanding a referendum before the by-law was adopted. Alas, the regional district rushed to adopt the motion into law at their September 12 board meeting denying taxpayers an opportunity to seek a referendum at the time of the November elections.

Riled by this know-it-all treatment from the board, I read board meeting minutes, reports, letters from constituents explaining their opposition, and talked with other residents.

Then I thought, Whoa!!. Wait a minute!! Perhaps I’ve been looking at this from the wrong perspective. Suppose the regional district is truly looking out for us?

Consider: They lifted from our shoulders weeks of studying the fine print of periodic mail-outs, and attending informational meetings where little is learned.

Denying Area C and E taxpayers a referendum spares us the time-consuming task of marking one extra ballot at the November election, folding it, and handing it back to the returning officer.

With an 8 a.m. deadline to station our new garbage cans within six feet of the curb on pickup day – lids must secure to the can, though where to buy cans and what they’ll cost the regional district can’t answer yet – there’ll be no more lying abed like a sloth until 8:30.

Think of all the deep breathing we can do if we live at the end of a long driveway. And if it snows a foot overnight, we’ll have the extra incentive of getting up earlier to shovel out the front door first. More exercise, all without expensive electricity for a treadmill.

What if the snowplow leaves a berm past our driveway that we must scale to reach the curb? Look upon it as an adventure, a personal Arctic expedition, and all without driving to a gym, buying a membership, or donning a fashionable sweatsuit.

While enjoying all this free exercise, we seniors will reduce our risk of blood clots. Our appetites will improve. We’ll probably sleep better …with Advil for pain. And the 7 a.m. start will extend our day so we accomplish more, even allow us to add 30 minutes to our routine after-dinner nap.