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Garbage haulers say 'Curb Cowichan's trash-and-tote plan to allow private bids'

Bill Dumont is leading a push to halt the new CVRD plan to turn south Cowichan waste collection into a public utility. - Peter W. Rusland/file
Bill Dumont is leading a push to halt the new CVRD plan to turn south Cowichan waste collection into a public utility.
— image credit: Peter W. Rusland/file

Cowichan's private garbage haulers want a chance to bid on the region's planned $1.77-million tote-and-trash plan.

That pitch was a made Wednesday to the regional board by South Cowichan Chamber of Commerce president Mike Hanson.

He represented some 13 local haulers who say they've been curbed by the Cowichan Valley Regional District's sweeping trash plan.

That borrowing bylaw is under a public alternative approval process. Under that AAP, Cowichanians have until Nov. 26 to gain 2,550 voter signatures on official forms. Hitting that number could spark a referendum.

Hanson's request to the CVRD was simple.

"We want the process to be transparent and fair. We have a business sector of waste haulers with an interest in having a fair shot at the business.

"We want the CVRD to take a pause and review an opportunity for our private sector to bid on this project."

CVRD chairman Rob Hutchins was not available for comment by press time.

But Hanson knew regional brass can't legally respond during the AAP process.

"They have to complete the AAP. Then they have an opportunity to act, or not act, once they finish the process."

Hanson was optimistic the CVRD listened.

"We'd like the private sector to have an opportunity to submit a bid similar to what they're proposing," he said of the two-truck, 17,000-tote plan involving borrowing over 15 years.

"The CVRD can compare what the private sector can offer. If it comes out the CVRD's a more capable supplier, we won't have anything else to say — the private sector will have had its shot."

Especially as a looming Multi-Materials B.C. plan could come on stream next year, shifting recycling costs from local taxpayers to consumers and product makers, Hanson explained.

"Why move forward with a $1.77-million investment knowing the process will shift?"

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