Garbage bylaw wording found troubling

Controversy over northwest B.C. garbage collection plan continues

Dear Sir:

Re: Report by Margaret Speirs concerning Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine / Bylaw No. 640 (Mandatory Residential Garbage Collection)

I would like to make a correction to Margaret Speirs’ report: I did not thank the board but the only two directors, Nyce and Penner, who had the courtesy to acknowledge my wife’s e-mail.

The wording in some of the regulations in this bylaw is very ambiguous or wrong. For example: part 3.11 “No person shall set out more than 4 garbage containers …. per week.” Therefore, in a household of six, eight or ten persons this would mean 24, 32 or 40 bags per week. The answer I was given when questioning this wording was that it is meant to mean “per household”… but it doesn’t!

Furthermore, I would also like to add that I pointed out several articles in the bylaw with serious consequences. In part 2-3 it states that all recyclable materials must be handed over to Regional Collection System.

So, according to this wording, returning empties to the liquor store or to the Return-it centre will be illegal! A penalty of up to $1,000 for the first offence and up to $2,000 for the second violation can be levied. In part 3-8 (e + g) the times are given for putting the garbage out (by 8 a.m. at the latest) and empty containers to be returned to the residence (no later than 10 p.m. on the collection day). For someone working night shifts it would be impossible to meet these time lines. Again, violating these times can bring the above mentioned penalties.

Part 3.8 (k) mandates that the containers must be kept at all times on the premises. The same fines apply for the violation of this part.

I was told that it was not the intention of this bylaw to create income by levying penalties.

The chair, Bruce Bidgood, however, acknowledged that some of the wording will have to be reconsidered and amendments will have to be made.

The most troubling aspect of bylaw 640 is in part 6 – Administration – Right of Entry / 27. A Peace Officer, including a bylaw enforcement officer, or the Manager, Works and Services, and his or her delegate shall have the right to enter at all reasonable times upon any property subject to the provisions of this bylaw, for the purposes of ascertaining whether any requirements of this bylaw or the regulations in this bylaw are being observed.

This means the Regional District employees or their delegates – who could be anybody – have more power than the RCMP. The RCMP can only search a property with a search warrant from a judge, who will only grant it if there is reasonable ground.

I was told that legal advice had been obtained in drafting bylaw 640 – I find this hard to believe!

It troubles me that this bylaw was passed after three readings by 12 directors despite all of the questionable wording and that only one director opposed it.

A petition signed by 706 residents requested a referendum regarding the mandatory nature of bylaw 640 – we were ignored!

Urs Gasser

Terrace, B.C.