The Kitimat-Stikine regional district has put off the start date for pickup of garbage and recyclable material in the rural areas surrounding Terrace after discovering the environment ministry hadn’t signed off on the planned program.
But news of the delay in starting the controversial program only came after residents opposed to it appeared at the Sept. 12 regional district’s board meeting and voiced their misgivings.
The regional district has already been telling residents the service will start as of Oct. 6 and that residents will be charged $200 a year.
Directors had given three readings to a bylaw authorizing the program at earlier meetings but, regional district works and services manager Roger Tooms told them at the Sept. 12 meeting, the environment ministry had yet to give its approval in order for the bylaw to be officially adopted.
“At 4 p.m. today, I spoke to the deputy minister … and he told me the minister had not had time to approve the bylaw so the board is not able to consider adopting it tonight,” Tooms told directors.
With that information in hand, directors agreed to delay the start of the program.
Leading up to the news from Tooms, residents told regional district directors there had been no adequate discussion of the planned program.
One speaker, Les Pawluk, told directors he had a petition of nearly 700 signatures from residents who believe they don’t need and don’t want the proposed curbside garbage and recycling pickup, particularly because of the $200 a year cost per person. It’s to apply whether people are living at the residence year-round or not.
The planned program is to blend in with a larger regional plan to close the City of Terrace’s dump altogether while converting the regional district’s Thornhill dump into a transfer station where material will be sorted for recycling, leaving the waste that’s left to be hauled to a new super landfill at Forceman Ridge off of Hwy 37 South.
Residents in the rural areas of Chimdemash, Usk, Gossen, Kleanza, New Remo, Old Remo, North Terrace, Thornhill, Jackpine Flats and the Lakelse Lake highway accessible areas are to be affected.
Right now, they can either hire a private service to pick up their garbage or take it to a dump themselves.
Keith Norman focussed on a practical problem, saying that after garbage cans were emptied by contractors, they were flipped over and the lids put down on the ground.
In the winter, he said, wind could blow the lids down the street and into snowbanks.
There was no way, Norman continued, that he was going to look for a lid in the snow.
And people would not be happy with having to buy new lids all the time, he added.
Tooms noted that the regional district began its collection planning in 1995 and that the latest open house was in June.
Board chair Bruce Bidgood said had there been a curbside pickup program in place already, the regional district could have received a grant to reduce costs from an agency called Multi Material B.C.
Tooms said there were hopes that other grants could reduce the $200 fee.
Regional district director Diana Penner, who took over representing the rural area surrounding Terrace but excluding Thornhill, when Doug McLeod resigning citing, among other things, his dissatisfaction with the way the program was being introduced, was unhappy news of the delay wasn’t provided before residents spoke.
Not telling residents “disrespects the whole group of people who brought [their concerns] before us …” she said.
Bidgood disagreed, saying no one knew before the board meeting that the environment ministry had not provided its approval.