Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Thursday February 23, 2012
Council dumps biweekly garbage
Hamilton city councillors have officially disposes of the idea of biweekly garbage pickup in favour of a new program that’s both more expensive and less effective at diverting waste from landfill.
After hours of debate Tuesday, councillors approved weekly garbage pickup with a one-bag limit, but introduced 26 free tags to put out extra bags. That system, brokered by councillors Russ Powers and Chad Collins behind closed doors before Tuesday’s meeting, will be implemented in April 2013 when the city’s existing waste collection contracts run out.
However, the councillors’ chosen option will cost $1.4 million more each year than the biweekly alternative staff suggested. And, staff warned that unlike biweekly garbage collection — which would force people to increase their diversion — the new one-bag plus tags option will drag down the city’s 49 per cent waste diversion rate.
“As an environmentalist, I want to see long-term thinking about sustainability and doing the right thing for future generations,” said Lynda Lukasik, president of Environment Hamilton. “As a taxpayer, I want to see councillors stepping back, weighing it out and saying, ‘What’s the most fiscally responsible thing to do for the municipality — not just now, but into the future?’ Sadly, I think the numbers suggest that a different decision was made.”
Tuesday’s debate was the fourth time council dealt with garbage pickup this year. In the three previous debates, councillors couldn’t come to an agreement about whether to adopt a biweekly option.
Before Tuesday’s meeting, half of council was prepared to move ahead with biweekly pickup, while the other half wanted to increase the weekly bag limit to two bags. (Source: Hamilton Spectator)