COLUMN | Waste carts

Columnist Andre Carrel talks about garbage collection in Terrace

COLUMN | Waste carts

By Andre Carrel

It was garbage collection day in my neighbourhood when I noticed that a neighbour down the street had placed the garbage and compost carts so close to each other as to be virtually touching. By chance I noticed the garbage truck pulling up and, very carefully, the driver managed to pick up one cart without knocking over the other one.

As he dumped the garbage cart he backed up about 10 meters where he unceremoniously dumped the empty cart against the snowbank. He then pulled ahead, lifted the compost cart and, driving ahead as he emptied it, dropped it against the snowbank about 10 meters from the driveway. At lunchtime I observed the neighbour retrieving the two waste carts.

Should the City do more to underline the need to keep garbage/recycling and compost carts separated by at least one meter? Should citizens pay more attention to the City’s directives? How about garbage truck drivers, do they need temper management and stress counseling?

The City’s Curbside Collection Guidelines explain the correct collection day cart placement in bold print and with a detailed schematic drawing. I don’t see what more the City could do.

As to the culpable resident, was this an act of wickedness, a matter of malice, or could it have been a banal incident of inattentiveness? How about to the truck driver, was his action a matter of malice, a pretext to lash out, or could this have been one of those days where everything went wrong for him and this was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back?

READ MORE: COLUMN | Render unto Caesar

Reflecting on what I had witnessed it suddenly occurred to me that, in addition to the City, the resident, and the truck driver, this melodrama involved one more player. I had noticed the two waste carts placed far too close to each other.

How much effort would it have taken for me to go out and move one of them? Doing so would have averted the City worker’s frustration and precluded him wasting time. Doing so would also have avoided the inattentive resident’s frustration of having to recover the two carts scattered along the street.

I am retired, and it would have taken me just two minutes to fix the problem and avoid this melodrama. I did not need anyone’s permission to act; what then is my excuse?

I have lived in Vancouver (decades ago), and I have lived in very small and isolated northern towns. I know from personal experience that neighbours looking out for neighbours, helping out in inconspicuous ways – little things that take little effort – goes to the soul of what makes a community.

READ MORE: COLUMN | City not meeting intent of public consultation

More so than jobs and investment, it is a population’s universal participation in the provision of goods and services that create what poets mean when they speak of community.

I have on occasion been critical of City Council and the Board of Education when I considered their decision, or lack thereof, to short-change our democracy.

The guilty party in this anecdote is neither City Council, one of its workers, nor my neighbour. I have to look into the mirror to find the guilty party. This is embarrassing because I know better. A two-minute effort on my part would have avoided frustration for three people (including me).

This is my apology to my neighbour and to the City’s worker.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The District of Stewart has adopted a strategic plan for 2020/21 with six focus areas. (District of Stewart/Facebook)
Stewart adopts 2020 strategic plan

Economy, community areas of focus

Kendra Willems, seen here Nov. 5, created a Facebook page to help facilitate social supports such as clothing donations in an informal manner that supplements existing supports and charities. (Jake Wray/Terrace Standard)
Skeena Voices | ‘We could all use that kind of goodness’

Kendra Willems, new to Terrace, founds charitable Facebook page

Firefighters work to cool a semi truck engine that caught fire at the corner of Eby St. and Hwy 16 around 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 26
Semi truck engine catches fire in Terrace

Hwy 16 briefly closed between Sande Overpass and Eby St.

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross at his swearing in on Thursday (Nov. 26), with his wife, Tracey, left, mother, Frieda, and grandson, Parker. (Ellis Ross photo)
Ellis Ross sworn in as Skeena MLA

Ceremonies happening virtually rather than all in-person in Victoria

Mary Cox and Jack Plant dance in their pyjamas and slippers at the morning pyjama dance during the Rhythm Reelers’ 25 Annual Rally in the Valley Square Dance Festival in Chilliwack on June 4, 2011. Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020 is Square Dancing Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Nov. 29 to Dec. 5

Square Dancing Day, Disability Day and International Ninja Day are all coming up this week

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

114 Canadians were appointed Nov. 27 to the Order of Canada. (Governor General of Canada photo)
Indigenous actor, author, elder, leaders appointed to Order of Canada

Outstanding achievement, community dedication and service recognized

More than 60 cm of snow has fallen at Ulkatcho First Nation near Anahim Lake in the Chilcotin since a snowfall warning went into effect Thursday, Nov. 26. (Graham West photo)
VIDEO: More than 60 cm of snowfall in Chilcotin since Thursday, Nov. 26

Graham West of Ulkatcho First Nation captures the scene on video

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Peter Wilson, left, and Micah Rankin, right, formed the Special Prosecutor team that was tasked with reviewing and litigating charges stemming from the Bountiful investigation. Trevor Crawley photo.
End of Bountiful prosecution wraps up decades of legal battles

Constitutional questions had to be settled before a polygamy prosecution could move forward

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Most Read