The City of Terrace is to more than double its garbage and recycling collection rates, part of the ongoing efforts to change the way waste is handled in the city, in Thornhill and immediate rural area.
From the current $2 a week for each of the 3,600 residences on the city’s collection program, rates are to rise to $4.75 a week, providing an additional $514,800 a year to cover increased costs.
A portion of the fee increase will result in residences getting three cans, one for garbage, one for recyclables and one for organic waste.
The cans are designed to be picked up and emptied by automated arms extending from two new collection trucks to be ordered by the city.
The cost of those trucks will be covered by money the city already has tucked away by charging itself for the trucks now being used, explained city public works director Rob Schibli.
Schibli, who briefed city council members March 2 on the new program, said the current collection system uses two old trucks which are ending their useful life and which are increasingly expensive to maintain.
Drivers also have to manually empty garbage cans and hoist plastic bags of recyclables into the trucks.
“Every customer in the community initially receives two cans, one for refuse and one for recycling, and a third can [for organics will be added later],” said Schibli.
“I would recommend three streams with the third (organics) collected weekly.” Garbage and recycling will still be collected on alternate weeks and when organics are added, they will be collected every week.
There are three can sizes: 90 litres, 240 litres and 360 litres with the 240 l one being the most commonly used – it should be sufficient as it is three times the size of the current cans used here, he said.
The cans can only be filled up so the lid closes or it won’t work correctly and the contents will be spilled out.
At the council briefing, councillor Brian Downie asked about the life expectancy of the garbage cans.
Schibli said they have warranties for 10 years with an expected lifetime of 15 years, but in talking to other communities with the same system, the lifespan expected is 20 years.
Occasionally, the cans can get broken but they can also be maintained.
And their cost would be recovered in one year, added Schibli.
He confirmed the city retains ownership of the cans in response to a question from councillor James Cordeiro and that each can is tagged to a specific address.
Councillor Michael Prevost asked how huge snowfalls would affect pickup because cans could be buried or knocked over.
Prince George adds a person to each truck during collection days to manually position cans so they can be picked up and Williams Lake doesn’t plow snow the day where collection is going on, Schibli said.
Prevost asked how people will know where to place cans so they can be picked up.
Schibli said one of the simplest ways would be to deliver the cans and position them where they should be and then have instructions attached to the can.
Many communities have grey cans with a coloured lid that indicates if its contents are garbage, recyclables or organics, however, contractors say a fully coloured can is best, otherwise after it snows a few inches, truck operators can’t see what type of can it is, he said.
In the agreement with Multi-Material B.C., the provincial agency responsible for recycling, the city is not allowed to restrict how much recyclables are put out so any material over and above what can fit into a can should be put into a clear plastic bag and lifted into the truck by its operator, said Schibli.
New trucks have yet to be ordered and a start date for the system has yet to be determined, he said.
The new city system is part of a massive shift in the way waste is handled in the area, involving a closure of the city’s landfill, the conversion of the regional district’s Thornhill landfill to a transfer station for the separation of material and ongoing transport of recyclables and the construction of a new dump at Forceman Ridge on Hwy37 South toward Kitimat.